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Exploits of Elaine
A Detective Novel
Arthur B. Reeve
Author of the **Craig Kennedy: Scientific Detective"
Books— **The Silent Bullet," ''The Poisoned
Pen," ''The Dream Doctor," "Guy
Garrick," and "The War
Terror. ' '
Dramatized into a Photo-Play by
Charles W. Goddard
Author of "The Perils of Pauline," "The Ghost
Breaker," "The Misleading Lady," and
Hearst's International Library Co.
Copyright, 1914, 191S, by
The Star Co.
Copyright, 1915, by
Hearst's International Library Co., Inc.
All rights reserved, including the translation into foreign
languages, including the Scandinavian.
I The Clutching Hand i
II The Twilight Sleep i8
III The Vanishing Jewels 39
IV *' The Frozen Safe '' 61
V The Poisoned Room 82
VI The Vampire 104
VII The Double Trap 126
VIII The Hidden Voice 145
IX The Death Ray 167
X The Life Current 189
XI The Hour of Three 211
XII The Blood Crystals 234
XIII The Devil Worshippers 259
XIV The Reckoning 280
'' The Clutching Hand did this ! I shall
consecrate my life to bring this man
to justice!" Frontispiece
The finger prints on the bust were Kennedy's own i8
" Just a moment, ]Miss Dodge," he encouraged as
he jabbed the needle into her arm .... 32
He came stealthily through that window ... 36
In spite of the excitement, Kennedy quietly ex-
amined the show case 42
A masked face protruded, gazing about the room.
It was the Clutching Hand 76
Rusty submitted patiently, but without any spirit 90
She levelled the automatic at the figure silhou-
etted in her window and fired three times . 106
Holding his hand over her mouth to prevent her
screaming, he snatched the revolver away . 114
"Elaine was kidnapped — in the armor," he cried 120
There stood her arch enemy, the Clutching Hand
I happened to look up and caught a glance of hor-
ror on Craig's face 184
Craig, approaching the couch on which Elaine lay,
applied the electrodes 208
We heard a call that caused Kennedy to look at
me quickly 222
The newcomer slowly raised his crooked hand
over his head 228
Craig hurried up to her and literally ripped the
watch off her wrist 234
Elaine dropped the knife and bent over him . . 242
" Hold her," ordered Long Sin in guttural Chi-
ese to the two attendants 274
Bennett had hurled himself upon Elaine and was
slowly choking her 294
Kennedy thrust his hand through the opening and
turned the catch . . •. ., . :.. ., ,. 298
Presented by the Hearst Sunday newspapers in collaboration
with Pathe Freres — Theodore and Leopold Wharton, Di-
rectors. Adapted from the " Craig Kennedy " Series in the
Miss Pearl White as " Elaine."
Arnold Daly as ** Craig Kennedy."
Creighton Hale as " Walter Jameson."
Sheldon Lewis as " Perry Bennett."
Mrs Besse R Wharton as " Aunt Josephine."
THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
THE CLUTCHING HAND
" Jameson, here's a story I wish you'd follow up,"
remarked the managing editor of the Star to me one
evening after I had turned in an assignment of the late
He handed me a clipping from the evening edition
of the Star and I quickly ran my eye over the head-
" THE CLUTCHING HAND " WINS AGAIN
NEW YORK S MYSTERIOUS MASTER CRIMINAL
PERFECTS ANOTHER COUP
CITY POLICE COMPLETELY BAFFLED
" Here's this murder of Fletcher, the retired banker
and trustee of the University," he explained. ** Not
a clue — except a warning letter signed with this
mysterious clutching fist. Last week it was the rob-
bery of the Haxworth jewels and the killing of old
Haxworth. Again that curious sign of the hand.
Then there was the dastardly attempt on Sherburne,
the steel magnate. Not a trace of the assailant ex-
2 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
cept this same clutching fist. So it has gone, Jame-
son — the most alarming and most inexplicable series
of murders that has ever happened in this country.
And nothing but this uncanny hand to trace them
The editor paused a moment, then exclaimed,
*' Why, this fellow seems to take a diaboHcal — I
might almost say pathological — pleasure in crimes of
violence, revenge, avarice and self-protection. Some-
times it seems as if he delights in the pure deviltry of
the thing. It is weird."
He leaned over and spoke in a low, tense tone.
" Strangest of all, the tip has just come to us that
Fletcher, Haxworth, Sherburne and all the rest of
those wealthy men were insured in the Consolidated
Mutual Life. Now, Jameson, I want you to find
Taylor Dodge, the president, and interview him. Get
what you can, at any cost."
I had naturally thought first of Kennedy, but there
was no time now to call him up and, besides, I must
see Dodge immediately.
Dodge, I discovered over the telephone, was not
at home, nor at any of the clubs to which he belonged.
Late though it was I concluded that he was at his
office. No amount of persuasion could get me past
the door, and, though I found out later and shall tell
soon what was going on there, I determined, about
nine o'clock, that the best way to get at Dodge was
to go to his house on Fifth Avenue, if I had to camp
on his front doorstep until morning. The harder I
found the story to get, the more I wanted it.
With some misgivings about being admitted, I rang
the bell of the splendid, though not very modem,
THE CLUTCHING HAND 3
Dodge residence. An English butler, with a nose
that must have been his fortune, opened the door
and gravely informed me that Mr. Dodge was not at
home, but was expected at any moment.
Once in, I was not going lightly to give up that ad-
vantage. I bethought myself of his daughter, Elaine,
one of the most popular debutantes of the season, and
sent in my card to her, on a chance of interesting her
and seeing her father, writing on the bottom of the
card : " Would Hke to interview Mr. Dodge regard-
ing Clutching Hand."
Summoning up what assurance I had, which is some-
times considerable, I followed the butler down the hall
as he bore my card. As he opened the door of the
drawing room I caught a vision of a slip of a girl,
in an evening gown.
Elaine Dodge was both the ingenue and the athlete
— the thoroughly modern type of girl — equally at
home with tennis and tango, table talk and tea. Vi-
vacious eyes that hinted at a stunning amber brown
sparkled beneath masses of the most wonderful au-
burn hair. Her pearly teeth, when she smiled, were
marvellous. And she smiled often, for life to her
seemed a continuous film of enjoyment.
Near her I recognized from his pictures. Perry
Bennett, the rising young corporation lawyer, a mighty
good looking fellow, with an aflfable, pleasing way
about him, perhaps thirty-five years old or so, but
already prominent and quite friendly with Dodge.
On a table I saw a book, as though Elaine had cast
it down when the lawyer arrived to call on the daugh-
ter under pretense of waiting for her father.
4 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
Crumpled on the table was the Star. They had read
" Who is it, Jennings ? " she asked.
"A reporter, Miss Dodge," answered the butler
glancing superciliously back at me, "and you know
how your father dislikes to see anyone here at the
house,'* he added deferentially to her.
I took in the situation at a glance. Bennett was
trying not to look discourteous, but this was a call on
Elaine and it had been interrupted. I could expect no
help from that quarter. Still, I fancied that Elaine
was not averse to trying to pique her visitor and de-
termined at least to try it.
** Miss Dodge,'* I pleaded, bowing as if I had known
them all my life, ** I've been trying to find your father
all the evening. It's very important."
She looked up at me surprised and in doubt whether
to laugh or stamp her pretty little foot in indignation
at my stupendous nerve.
She laughed. " You are a very brave young man,"
she replied with a roguish look at Bennett's discom-
fiture over the interruption of the tete-a-tete.
There was a note of seriousness in it, too, that made
me ask quickly, ** Why ? "
The smile flitted from her face and in its place
came a frank earnest expression which I later learned
to like and respect very much. " My father has de-
clared he will eat the very next reporter who tries to
interview him here," she answered.
I was about to prolong the waiting time by some
jolly about such a stunning girl not having by any
possibility such a cannibal of a parent, when the rat-
THE CLUTCHING HAND 5
tie of the changing gears of a car outside told of the
approach of a limousine.
The big front door opened and Elaine flung her-
self in the arms of an elderly, stern-faced, gray-
haired man. " Why, Dad," she cried, *' where have
you been? I missed you so much at dinner. FU be
so glad when this terrible business gets cleared up.
Tell — me. What is on your mind ? What is it that
worries you now ? '*
I noticed then that Dodge seemed wrought-up and
a bit unnerved, for he sank rather heavily into a chair,
brushed his face with his handkerchief and breathed
heavily, Elaine hovered over him solicitously, repeat-
ing her question.
With a mighty eflfort he seemed to get himself to-
gether. He rose and turned to Bennett.
" Perry," he exclaimed, '* Fve got the Clutching
Hand ! "
The two men stared at each other.
" Yes," continued Dodge, ** Tve just found out how
to trace it, and tomorrow I am going to set the alarms
of the city at rest by exposing — "
Just then Dodge caught sight of me. For the mo-
ment I thought perhaps he was going to fulfill his
" Who the devil — why didn't you tell me a re-
porter was here, Jennings ? " he sputtered indignantly,
pointing toward the door.
Argument, entreaty were of no avail. He stamped
crustily into the library, taking Bennett with him and
leaving me with Elaine. Inside I could hear them
talking, and managed to catch enough to piece together
the story. I wanted to stay, but Elaine, smiling at my
6 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
enthusiasm, shook her head and held out her hand
in one of her frank, straight-arm hand shakes. There
was nothing to do but go.
At least, I reflected, I had the greater part of the
story — all except the one big thing, however, — the
name of the criminal. But Dodge would know him to-
I hurried back to the Star to write my story in time
to catch the last morning edition.
Meanwhile, if I may anticipate my story, I must
tell of what we later learned had happened to Dodge
so completely to upset him.
Ever since the Consolidated Mutual had been hit by
the murders, he had had many lines out in the hope of
enmeshing the perpetrator. That night, as I found
out the next day, he had at last heard of a clue. One
of the company's detectives had brought in a red-
headed, lame, partly paralyzed crook who enjoyed the
expressive monniker of " Limpy Red." " Limpy Red "
was a gunman of some renown, evil faced and having
nothing much to lose, desperate. Whoever the mas-
ter criminal of the Clutching Hand might have been
he had seen fit to employ Limpy but had not taken the
precaution of getting rid of him soon enough when he
Wherefore Limpy had a grievance and now de-
scended under pressure to the low level of snitching to
Dodge in his office.
" No, Governor," the trembling wretch had said as
he handed over a grimy envelope, " I ain't never seen
his face — but here is directions how to find his hang-
THE CLUTCHING HAND 7
As Limpy ambled out, he turned to Dodge, quiver-
ing at the enormity of his unpardonable sin in gang-
land, '* For God's sake, Governor," he implored,
" don't let on how you found out ! "
And yet Limpy Red had scarcely left with his prom-
ise not to tell, when Dodge, happening to turn over
some papers came upon an envelope left on his own
desk, bearing that mysterious Clutching Hand!
He tore it open, and read in amazement :
'* Destroy Limpy Red's instructions within the next
Dodge gazed about in wonder. This thing was get-
ting on his nerv^es. He determined to go home and
Outside the house, as he left his car, pasted over
the monogram on the door, he had found another note,
with the same weird mark and the single word:
Much of this I had already gathered from what I
overheard Dodge telling Bennett as they entered the
library. Some, also, I have pieced together from the
story of a servant who overheard.
At any rate, in spite of the pleadings of young
Bennett, Dodge refused to take w^arning. In the safe
in his beautifully fitted library he deposited Limpy's
document in an envelope containing all the corre-
spondence that had lead up to the final step in the
It was late in the evening when I returned to our
apartment and, not finding Kennedy there, knew that
I would discover him at the laboratory.
8 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
" Craig," I cried as I burst in on him, '' IVe got a
case for you — greater than any ever before ! "
Kennedy looked up calmly from the ruck of scien-
tific instruments that surrounded him, test tubes,
beakers, carefully labelled bottles.
He had been examining a piece of cloth and had
laid it aside in disappointment near his magnifying
glass. Just now he was watching a reaction in a
series of test tubes standing on his table. He was
looking dejectedly at the floor as I came in.
'' Indeed ? " he remarked coolly going back to the
" Yes," I cried. " It is a scientific criminal who
seems to leave no clues."
Kennedy looked up gravely. " Every criminal
leaves a trace," he said quietly. '' If it hasn't been
found, then it must be because no one has ever looked
for it in the right way."
Still gazing at me keenly, he added, " Yes, I already
knew there was such a man at large. I have been
called in on that Fletcher case — he was a trustee of
the University, you know."
''All right," I exclaimed, a little nettled that he
should have anticipated me even so much in the case.
'' But you haven't heard the latest."
" What is it ? " he asked with provoking calmness.
" Taylor Dodge," I blurted out, '' has the clue. To-
morrow he will track down the man ! "
Kennedy fairly jumped as I repeated the news.
" How long has he known ? " he demanded eagerly.
'* Perhaps three or four hours," I hazarded.
Kennedy gazed at me fixedly.
'' Then Taylor Dodge is dead ! " he exclaimed,
THE CLUTCHING HAND 9
throwing off his acid-stained laboratory smock and
hurrying into his street clothes.
*' Impossible ! " I ejaculated.
Kennedy paid no attention to the objection.
'' Come, Walter/' he urged. " We must hurry, be-
fore the trail gets cold."
There was something positively uncanny about
Kennedy's assurance. I doubted — yet I feared.
It was well past the middle of the night when we
pulled up in a night-hawk taxicab before the Dodge
house, mounted the steps and rang the bell.
Jennings answered sleepily, but not so much so
that he did not recognize me. He was about to bang
the door shut when Kennedy interposed his foot.
*' Where is Mr. Dodge ? " asked Kennedy. " Is he
" Of course he is — in bed," replied the butler.
Just then we heard a faint cry, like nothing exactly
human. Or was it our heightened imaginations, un-
der the spell of the darkness?
" Listen ! " cautioned Kennedy.
We did, standing there now in the hall. Kennedy
was the only one of us who was cool. Jennings' face
blanched, then he turned tremblingly and went down
to the library door whence the sounds had seemed to
He called but there was no answer. He turned the
knob and opened the door. The Dodge library was a
large room. In the center stood a big flat-topped desk
of heavy mahogany. It was brilliantly lighted.
At one end of the desk was a telephone. Taylor
Dodge was lying on the floor at that end of the desk —
perfectly rigid — his face distorted — a ghastly figure.
10 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
A pet dog ran over, sniffed frantically at his master's
legs and suddenly began to howl dismally.
Dodge was dead !
" Help ! " shouted Jennings.
Others of the servants came rushing in. There was
for the moment the greatest excitement and confusion.
Suddenly a wild figure in flying garments flitted
down the stairs and into the library, dropping beside
the dead man, without seeming to notice us at all.
" Father ! '' shrieked a woman's voice, heart broken.
" Father ! Oh — my God — he — he is dead ! "
It was Elaine Dodge.
With a mighty effort, the heroic girl seemed to pull
*' Jennings," she cried, *' Call Mr. Bennett — im-
mediately ! "
From the one-sided, excited conversation of the
butler over the telephone, I gathered that Bennett had
been in the process of disrobing in his own apartment
uptown and would be right down.
Together, Kennedy, Elaine and myself lifted Dodge
to a sofa and Elaine's aunt, Josephine, with whom she
lived, appeared on the scene, trying to quiet the sob-
Kennedy and I withdrew a little way and he looked
" What was it ? " I whispered. " Was it natural,
an accident, or — or murder ? "
The word seemed to stick in my throat. If it was
a murder, what was the motive? Could it have been
to get the evidence which Dodge had that would in-
criminate the master criminal ?
Kennedy moved over quietly and examined the
THE CLUTCHING HAND ii
body of Dodge. When he rose, his face had a peculiar
" Terrible ! " he whispered to me. '' x\pparently he
had been working at his accustomed place at the desk
when the telephone rang. He rose and crossed over
to it. See ! That brought his feet on this register let
into the floor. As he took the telephone receiver
down a flash of light must have shot from it to his
ear. It shows the characteristic electric bum.''
" The motive ? '' I queried.
" Evidently his pockets had been gone through,
though none of the valuables were missing. Things
on his desk show that a hasty search has been made.'*
Just then the door opened and Bennett burst in.
As he stood over the body, gazing down at it, re-
pressing the emotions of a strong man, he turned to
Elaine and in a low voice, exclaimed, " The Clutch-
ing Hand did this ! I shall consecrate my life to bring
this man to justice!"
He spoke tensely and Elaine, looking up into his
face, as if imploring his help in her hour of need, un-
able to speak, merely grasped his hand.
Kennedy, who in the meantime had stood apart from
the rest of us, was examining the telephone carefully.
" A clever crook," I heard him mutter between his
teeth. *' He must have worn gloves. Not a finger
print — at least here."
Perhaps I can do no better than to reconstruct the
crime as Kennedy later pieced these startling events
Long after I had left and even after Bennett left.
12 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
Dodge continued working in his library, for he was
known as a prodigious worker.
Had he taken the trouble, however, to pause and
peer out into the moonlight that flooded the back of
his house, he might have seen the figures of two
stealthy crooks crouching in the half shadows of one
of the cellar windows.
One crook was masked by a handkerchief drawn
tightly about his lower face, leaving only his eyes
visible beneath the cap with visor pulled down over
his forehead. He had a peculiar stoop of the shoul-
ders and wore his coat collar turned up. One hand,
the right, seemed almost deformed. It was that which
gave him his name in the underworld — the Clutching
The masked crook held carefully the ends of two
wires attached to an electric feed, and sending his
pal to keep watch outside, he entered the cellar of the
Dodge house through a window whose pane they had
carefully removed. As he came through the window
he dragged the wires with him, and, after a moment's
reconnoitering attached them to the furnace pipe of
the old-fashioned hot-air heater where the pipe ran
up through the floor to the library above. The other
wire was quickly attached to the telephone where its
Upstairs, Dodge, evidently uneasy in his mind about
the precious '' Limpy Red " letter, took it from the
safe along with most of the other correspondence and,
pressing a hidden spring in the wall, opened a secret
panel, placed most of the important documents in
this hiding place. Then he put some blank sheets of
paper in an envelope and returned it to the safe.
THE CLUTCHING HAND 13
Downstairs the masked master criminal had already-
attached a voltmeter to the wires he had installed,
Just then could be heard the tinkle of Dodge's tele-
phone and the old man rose to answer it. As he did
so he placed his foot on the iron register, his hand
taking the telephone and the receiver. At that in-
stant came a powerful electric flash. Dodge sank on
the floor grasping the instrument, electrocuted. Be-
low, the master criminal could scarcely refrain from
exclaiming with satisfaction as his voltmeter regis-
tered the powerful current that was passing.
A moment later the criminal slid silently into
Dodge's room. Carefully putting on rubber gloves
and avoiding touching the register, he wrenched the
telephone from the grasp of the dead man, replacing it
in its normal position. Only for a second did he
pause to look at his victim as he destroyed the evidence
of his work.
Minutes were precious. First Dodge's pockets,
then his desk engaged his attention. There was left
As he approached the strong box, the master crim-
inal took two vials from his pockets. Removing a
bust of Shakespeare that stood on the safe, he poured
the contents of the vials in two mixed masses of pow-
der forming a heap on the safe, into which he inserted
two magnesium wires.
He lighted them, sprang back, hiding his eyes from
the light, and a blinding gush of flame, lasting per-
haps ten seconds, poured out from the top of the
It was not an explosion, but just a dazzling, intense
14 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
flame that sizzled and crackled. It seemed impos-
sible, but the glowing mass was literally sinking, sink-
ing down into the cold steel. At last it burned
through — as if the safe had been of tinder!
Without waiting a moment longer than necessary,
the masked criminal advanced again and actually put
his hand down through the top of the safe, pulling out
a bunch of papers. Quickly he thrust them all, with
just a glance, into his pocket.
Still working quickly, he took the bust of the great
dramatist which he had removed and placed it un-
der the light. Next from his pocket he drew two
curious stencils, as it were, which he had apparently
carefully prepared. With his hands, still carefully
gloved, he rubbed the stencils on his hair, as if to
cover them with a film of natural oils. Then he de-
liberately pressed them over the statue in several
places. It was a peculiar action and he seemed to
fairly gloat over it when it was done, and the bust
returned to its place, covering the hole.
As noiselessly as he had come, he made his exit after
one last malignant look at Dodge. It was now but
the work of a moment to remove the wires he had
placed, and climb out of the window, taking them
and destroying the evidence down in the cellar.
A low whistle from the masked crook, now again in
the shadow, brought his pal stealthily to his side.
" It's all right," he whispered hoarsely to the man.
" Now, you attend to Limpy Red."
The villainous looking pal nodded and without an-
other word the two made their getaway, safely, in op-
THE CLUTCHING HAND 15
When Limpy Red, still trembling, left the office of
Dodge earlier in the evening, he had repaired as fast
as his shambling feet would take him to his favorite
dive upon Park Row. There he might have been
seen drinking with any one who came along, for
Limpy had money — blood money, — and the recollec-
tion of his treachery and revenge must both be for-
gotten and celebrated.
Had the Bowery " sinkers '* not got into his eyes,
he might have noticed among the late revellers, a man
who spoke to no one but took his place nearby at the
Limpy had long since reached the point of satura-
tion and, lurching forth from his new found cronies,
he sought other fields of excitement. Likewise did
the newcomer, who bore a strange resemblance to the
look-out who had been stationed outside at the Dodge
house a scant half hour before.
What happened later was only a matter of seconds.
It came when the hated snitch — for gangdom hates
the informer worse than anything else dead or alive —
had turned a sufficiently dark and deserted corner.
A muffled thud, a stifled groan followed as a heavy
section of lead pipe wrapped in a newspaper de-
scended on the crass skull of Limpy. The wielder of
the improvised but fatal weapon permitted himself
the luxury of an instant's cruel smile — then vanished
into the darkness leaving another complete job for
the coroner and the morgue.
It was the vengeance of the Clutching Hand —
swift, sure, remorseless.
And yet it had not been a night of complete suc-
cess for the master criminal, as anyone might have
i6 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
seen who could have followed his sinuous route to
a place of greater safety.
Unable to wait longer he pulled the papers he had
taken from the safe from his pocket. His chagrin at
finding them to be blank paper found only one expres-
sion of foiled fury — that menacing clutching hand!
Kennedy had turned from his futile examination
for marks on the telephone. There stood the safe, a
moderate sized strong box but of a modern type. He
tried the door. It was locked. There was not a mark
on it. The combination had not been tampered with.
Nor had there been any attempt to " soup " the safe.
With a quick motion he felt in his pocket as if look-
ing for gloves. Finding none, he glanced about, and
seized a pair of tongs from beside the grate. With
them, in order not to confuse any possible finger prints
on the bust, he lifted it off.
I gave a gasp of surprise.
There, in the top of the safe, yawned a gaping hole
through which one could have thrust his arm !
'* What is it?" we asked, crowding about him.
** Thermit," he replied laconically.
*' Thermit?" I repeated.
"Yes — a compound of iron oxide and powdered
aluminum invented by a chemist at Essen, Germany.
It gives a temperature of over five thousand degrees.
It will eat its way through the strongest steel."
Jennings, his mouth wide open with wonder, ad-
vanced to take the bust from Kennedy.
'' No — don't touch it," he waved him off, laying
the bust on the desk. " I want no one to touch it —
don't you see how careful I was to use the tongs that
THE CLUTCHING HAND 17
there might be no question about any clue this fellow
may have left on the marble? "
As he spoke, Craig was dusting over the surface
of the bust with som.e black powder.
*' Look ! " exclaimed Craig suddenly.
We bent over. The black powder had in fact
brought out strongly some peculiar, more or less regu-
lar, black smudges.
" Finger prints ! " I cried excitedly.
" Yes," nodded Kennedy, studying them closely.
" A clue — perhaps."
" What — those little marks — a clue ? " asked a
voice behind us.
I turned and saw Elaine, looking over our shoul-
ders, fascinated. It was evidently the first time she
had realized that Kennedy was in the room.
'* How can you tell anything by that?'" she asked.
" Why, easily," he answered picking up a brass blot-
ting-pad which lay on the desk. '' You see, I place
my finger on this weight — so. I dust the powder
over the mark — so. You could see it even without
the powder on this glass. Do you see those lines?
There are various types of markings — four general
types — and each person's markings are different, even
if of the same general type — loop, whorl, arch, or
He continued working as he talked.
" Your thumb marks, for example. Miss Dodge, are
different from mine. ]\Ir. Jameson's are different
from both of us. And this fellow's finger prints are
still different. It is mathematically impossible to find
two alike in every respect."
i8 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
Kennedy was holding the brass blotter near the bust
as he talked.
I shall never forget the look of blank amazement
on his face as he bent over closer.
" My God ! " he exclaimed excitedly, *' this fellow
is a master criminal! He has actually made stencils
or something of the sort on which by some mechani-
cal process he has actually forged the hitherto in-
fallible finger prints ! "
I, too, bent over and studied the marks on the bust
and those Kennedy had made on the blotter to show
THE FINGER PRINTS ON THE BUST WERE
THE TWILIGHT SLEEP
Kennedy had thrown himself wholeheartedly into
the solution of the mytserious Dodge case.
Far into the night, after the challenge of the forged
finger print, he continued at work, endeavoring to
extract a clue from the meagre evidence — the bit
of cloth and trace of poison already obtained from
other cases, and now added the strange succession of
events that surrounded the tragedy we had just wit-
We dropped around at the Dodge house the next
morning. Early though it was, we found Elaine, a
trifle paler but more lovely than ever, and Perry Ben-
THE TWILIGHT SLEEP 19
nett themselves vainly endeavoring to solve the
mystery of the Clutching Hand.
They were at Dodge's desk, she in the big desk chair,
he standing beside her, looking over some papers.
'' There's nothing there,'' Bennett was saying as we
I could not help feeling that he was gazing down at
Elaine a bit more tenderly than mere business war-
'' Have you — found anything ? " queried Elaine
anxiously, turning eagerly to Kennedy.
" Nothing — yet," he answered shaking his head, but
conveying a quiet idea of confidence in his tone.
Just then Jennings, the butler, entered, bringing
the morning papers. Elaine seized the Star and
hastily opened it. On the first page was the story I
had telephone down very late in the hope of catching
a last city edition.
We all bent over and Craig read aloud :
'' CLUTCHING HAND " STILL AT LARGE
NEW YORK S MASTER CRIMINAL REMAINS UN-
DETECTED PERPETRATES NEW DARING
MURDER AND ROBBERY OF MILLION-
He had scarcely finished reading the brief but
alarming news story that followed and laid the paper
on the desk, when a stone came smashing through the
window from the street.
Startled, we all jumped to our feet. Craig hur-
ried to the window. Not a soul was in sight !
20 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
He stooped and picked up the stone. To it was
attached a piece of paper. Quickly he unfolded it and
" Craig Kennedy will give up his search for the
" Clutching Hand "— or die ! "
Later I recalled that there seemed to be a slight
noise downstairs, as if at the cellar window through
which the masked man had entered the night before.
In point of fact, one who had been outside at the
time might actually have seen a sinister face at that
cellar window, but to us upstairs it was invisible. The
face was that of the servant, Michael.
Without another word Kennedy passed into the
drawing room and took his hat and coat. Both Elaine
and Bennett followed.
*' I'm afraid I must ask you to excuse me — for the
present,'' Craig apologized.
Elaine looked at him anxiously.
" You — you will not let that letter intimidate
you?" she pleaded, laying her soft white hand on his
arm. *' Oh, Mr. Kennedy," she added, bravely keep-
ing back the tears, '* avenge him ! All the money in
the world would be too little to pay — if only — "
At the mere mention of money Kennedy's face
seemed to cloud, but only for a moment. He must
have felt the confiding pressure of her hand, for as
she paused, appealingly, he took her hand in his, bow-
ing slightly over it to look closer into her upturned
" I'll try," he said simply.
Elaine did not withdraw her hand as she continued
THE TWILIGHT SLEEP 21
to look up at him. Craig looked at her, as I had never
seen him look at a woman before in all our long ac-
'' Miss Dodge/' he went on, his voice steady as
though he were repressing something, '' I will never
take another case until the ' Clutching Hand ' is cap-
The look of gratitude she gave him would have
been a princely reward in itself.
I did not marvel that all the rest of that day and
far into the night Kennedy was at work furiously in
his laboratory, studying the notes, the texture of the
paper, the character of the ink, everything that might
perhaps suggest a new lead. It was all, apparently,
however, without result.
It was some time after these events that Kennedy,
reconstructing what had happened, ran across, in a
strange way which I need not tire the reader by telling,
a Dr. Ha}mes, head of the Hillside Sanitarium for
Women, whose story^ I shall relate substantially as w^e
received it from his own lips :
It must have been that same night that a distin-
guished visitor drove up in a cab to our Hillside Sani-
tarium, rang the bell and was admitted to my office.
I might describe him as a moderately tall, well-built
man with a pleasing way about him. Chiefly notice-
able, it seems to me, w^ere his mustache and bushy
beard, quite medical and foreign.
I am, by the way, the superintending physician, and
that night I was sitting with Dr. Thompson, my as-
sistant, in the office discussing a rather interesting case,
w^hen an attendant came in with a card and handed it
22 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
to me. It read simply, " Dr. Ludwig Reinstrom,
'' Here's that Dr. Reinstrom, Thompson, about
whom my friend in Germany wrote the other day/' I
remarked, nodding to the attendant to admit Dr.
I might explain that while I was abroad some time
ago, I made a particular study of the " Daemmer-
schlaf " — otherwise, the " twilight sleep," at Freiburg
where it was developed and at other places in Ger-
many where the subject had attracted great attention.
I was much impressed and had imported the treat-
ment to Hillside.
While we waited I reached into my desk and drew
out the letter to which I referred, which ended, I re-
'* As Dr. Reinstrom is in America, he will probably
call on you. I am sure you will be glad to know him.
" With kindest regards, I am,
" Fraternally yours,
" Emil Schwarz, M. D.,
" Director, Leipsic Institute of Medicine."
" Most happy to meet you. Dr. Reinstrom," I
greeted the new arrival, as he entered our office.
For several minutes we sat and chatted of things
medical here and abroad.
" What is it. Doctor," I asked finally, " that inter-
ests you most in America ? "
*' Oh," he replied quickly with an expressive ges-
ture, '^ it is the broadmindedness with which you adopt
the best from all over the world, regardless of preju-
dice. For instance, I am very much interested in the
THE TWILIGHT SLEEP 23
new twilight sleep. Of course you have borrowed it
largely from us, but it interests me to see whether you
have modified it with practice. In fact I have come
to the Hillside Sanitarium particularly to see it used.
Perhaps we may learn something from you.''
It was most gracious and both Dr. Thompson and
myself were charmed by our visitor. I reached over
and touched a call-button and our head nurse entered
from a rear room.
** Are there any operations going on now ? " I asked.
She looked mechanically at her watch. *' Yes, there
are two cases, now, I think," she answered.
" Would you like to follow our technique, Doctor ? ''
I asked, turning to Dr. Reinstorm.
*^ I should be delighted," he acquiesced.
A moment later we passed down the corridor of the
Sanitarium, still chatting. At the door of a ward I
spoke to the attendant who indicated that a patient w^as
about to be anesthetized, and Reinstrom and I entered
There, in perfect quiet, which is an essential part
of the treatment, were several women patients lying
in bed in the ward. Before us two nurses and a
doctor were in attendance on one.
I spoke to the Doctor, Dr. Holmes, by the way, who
bowed politely to the distinguished Dr. Reinstrom,
then turned quickly to his w^ork.
*' Miss Sears," he asked of one of the nurses, '' will
you bring me that hypodermic needle? How are you
getting on, Miss Stern ? " to the other who was scrub-
bing the patient's arm with antiseptic soap and water,
thoroughly sterilizing the skin.
"You will see. Dr. Reinstrom," I interposed in a
24 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
low tone, '* that we follow in the main your Freiburg
treatment. We use scopolamin and narkophin."
I held up the bottle, as I said it, a rather peculiar
shaped bottle, too.
'' And the pain ? " he asked.
'' Practically the same as in your experience abroad.
We do not render the patient unconscious, but pre-
vent her from remembering anything that goes on."
Dr. Holmes, the attending physician, was just start-
ing the treatment. Filling his hypodermic, he selected
a spot on the patient's arm^ where it had been scrubbed
and sterilized, and injected the narcotic.
" How simply you do it all, here ! " exclaimed Rein-
strom in surprise and undisguised admiration. *' You
Americans are wonderful ! "
"Come — see a patient who is just recovering,'* I
added, much flattered by the praise, which, from a
German physician, meant much.
Reinstrom followed me out of the door and we
entered a private room of the hospital where an-
other woman patient lay in bed carefully watched by
'' How do you do ? " I nodded to the nurse in a
modulated tone. '' Everything progressing favor-
" Perfectly," she returned, as Reinstrom, Haynes
and myself formed a little group about the bedside of
the unconscious woman.
"And you say they have no recollection of any-
thing that happens ? " asked Reinstrom.
" Absolutely none — if the treatment is given prop-
erly," I replied confidently.
I picked up a piece of bandage which was the hand-
THE TWILIGHT SLEEP 25
iest thing about me and tied it quite tightly about the
As we waited, the patient, who was gradually com-
ing from under the drug, roused herself.
" What is that — it hurts ! " she said putting her
hand on the bandage I had tied tightly.
'' That is all right. Just a moment. I'll take it off.
Don't you remember it? " I asked.
She shook her head. I smiled at Reinstrom.
" You see, she has no recollection of my t}'ing the
bandage on her arm," I pointed out.
''Wonderful! " ejaculated Reinstrom as wt left the
All the way back to the office he was loud in his
praises and thanked us most heartily, as he put on his
hat and coat and shook hands a cordial good-bye.
Now comes the strange part of my story. After
Reinstrom had gone. Dr. Holmes, the attending phy-
sician of the woman whom we had seen anesthetized,
missed his syringe and the bottle of scopolamine.
'' Miss Sears," he asked rather testily, '' what have
you done with the hypodermic and the scopolamine ? "
" Nothing," she protested.
" You must have done something."
She repeated that she had not.
" Well, it is very strange then," he said, '' I am posi-
tive I laid the syringe and the bottle right here on this
tray on the table."
Holmes, iliss Sears and Miss Stern all hunted, but
it could not be found. Others had to be procured.
I thought little of it at the time, but since then it
has occurred to me that it might interest you. Pro-
26 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
fessor Kennedy, and I give it to you for what it may
It was early the next morning that I awoke to find
Kennedy already up and gone from our apartment. I
knew he must be at the laboratory, and, gathering the
mail, which the postman had just slipped through the
letter slot, I went over to the University to see him.
As I looked over the letters to cull out my own, one
in a woman's handwriting on attractive notepaper ad-
dressed to him caught my eye.
As I came up the path to the Chemistry Building I
saw through the window that, in spite of his getting
there early, he was finding it difficult to keep his mind
on his work. It was the first time I had ever known
anything to interfere with science in his life.
I thought of the letter again.
Craig had lighted a Bunsen burner under a large
glass retort. But he had no sooner done so than he
sat down on a chair and, picking up a book which I
surmised might be some work on toxicology, started
He seemed not to be able, for the moment, to con-
centrate his mind and after a little while closed the
book and gazed straight ahead of him. Again I
thought of the letter, and the vision that, no doubt, he
saw of Elaine making her pathetic appeal for his help.
As he heard my footstep in the hall, it must have re-
called him for he snapped the book shut and moved
over quickly to the retort.
'' Well," I exclaimed as I entered, '' you are the
early bird. Did you have any breakfast ? "
I tossed down the letters. He did not reply. So
THE TWILIGHT SLEEP 27
I became absorbed in the morning paper. Still, I did
not neglect to watch him covertly out of the corner
of my eye. Quickly he ran over the letters, instead
of taking them, one by one, in his usual methodical
way. I quite complimented my own superior acumen.
He selected the dainty note.
A moment Craig looked at it in anticipation, then
tore it open eagerly. I was still watching his face
over the top of the paper and was surprised to see
that it showed, first, amazement, then pain, as though
something had hurt him.
He read it again — then looked straight ahead, as
if in a daze.
'* Strange, how much crime there is now,'* I com-
mented, looking up from the paper I had pretended
*^ One would think that one master criminal was
enough," I went on.
Still no answer.
He continued to gaze straight ahead at blankness.
'* By George," I exclaimed finally, banging my fist
on the table and raising my voice to catch his atten-
tion, '' you would think we had nothing but criminals
My voice must have startled him. The usually im-
perturbable old fellow actually jumped. Then, as my
question did not evidently accord with what was in
his mind, he answered at random, ^' Perhaps — I won-
der if — ^' and then he stopped, noncommittally.
Suddenly he jumped up, bringing his tightly clenched
fist down with a loud clap into the palm of his hand.
'' By heaven ! " he exclaimed, " I — I will ! "
28 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
Startled at his incomprehensible and unusual con-
duct I did not attempt to pursue the conversation but
let him alone as he strode hastily to the telephone.
Almost angrily he seized the receiver and asked for a
number. It was not like Craig and I could not con-
ceal my concern.
''Wh-what's the matter, Craig?" I blurted out
As he waited for the number, he threw the letter
over to me. I took it and read :
^' Professor Craig Kennedy,
'' The University, The Heights, City.
'' I have come to the conclusion that your work is a
hindrance rather than an assistance in clearing up my
father's death and I hereby beg to^'state that your
services are no longer required. This is a final de-
cision and I beg that you will not try to see me again
regarding the matter.
" Very truly yours,
" Elaine Dodge/'
If it had been a bomb I could not have been more
surprised. A moment before I think I had just a
sneaking suspicion of jealousy that a woman — even
Elaine — should interest my old chums. But now all
that was swept away. How could any woman scorn
I could not make it out.
Kennedy impatiently worked the receiver up and
down, repeating the number. *' Hello — hello," he
repeated, " Yes — hello. Is Miss — oh — good morn-
ing, Miss Dodge."
THE TWILIGHT SLEEP 29
He was hurrying along as if to give her no chance
to cut him off. '* I have just received a letter, Miss
Dodge, telling me that you don't want me to continue
investigating your father's death, and not to try to
see you again about — "
He stopped. I could hear the reply, as sometimes
one can when the telephone wire conditions are a cer-
tain way and the quality of the voice of the speaker a
'^ Why — no — Mr. Kennedy, I have written you no
The look of mingled relief and surprise that crossed
Craig's face spoke volumes.
" Miss Dodge," he almost shouted, '' this is a new
trick of the Clutching Hand. I — I'll be right over."
Craig hung up the receiver and turned from the
telephone. Evidently he was thinking deeply. Sud-
denly his face seemed to light up. He made up his
mind to something and a moment later he opened the
cabinet — that inexhaustible storehouse from which
he seemed to draw weird and curious instruments that
met the ever new problems which his strange pro-
fession brought to him.
I watched curiously. He took out a bottle and what
looked like a little hypodermic syringe, thrust them
into his pocket and, for once, oblivious to my very ex-
istence, deliberately walked out of the laboratory.
I did not propose to be thus cavalierly dismissed. I
suppose it would have looked ridiculous to a third
party but I followed him as hastily as if he had tried
to shut the door on his own shadow.
We arrived at the corner above the Dodge house
just in time to see another visitor — Bennett — enter.
30 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
Craig quickened his pace. Jennings had by this time
become quite reconciled to our presence and a mo-
ment later we were entering the drawing room, too.
Elaine was there, looking loveHer than ever in the
plain black dress, which set off the rosy freshness of
'* And, Perry," we heard her say, as we were ush-
ered in, ''someone has even forged my name — the
handwriting and everything — telling Mr. Kennedy to
drop the case — and I never knew."
She stopped as we entered. We bowed and shook
hands with Bennett. Elaine's Aunt Josephine was in
the room, a perfect duenna.
'That's the limit!" exclaimed Bennett. ''Miss
Dodge has just been telling me, — "
" Yes," interrupted Craig. " Look, Miss Dodge,
this is it."
He handed her the letter. She almost seized it, ex-
amining it carefully, her large eyes opening wider in
" This is certainly my writing and my notepaper,"
she murmured, " but I never wrote the letter ! "
Craig looked from the letter to her keenly. No one
said a word. For a moment Kennedy hesitated,
" Might I — er — see your room. Miss Dodge ? " he
asked at length.
Aunt Josephine frowned. Bennett and I could not
conceal our surprise.
" Why, certainly," nodded Elaine, as she led the
It was a dainty little room, breathing the spirit of
its mistress. In fact it seemed a sort of profanation
THE TWILIGHT SLEEP 31
as we all followed in after her. For a moment Ken-
nedy stood still, then he carefully looked about. At
the side of the bed, near the head, he stooped and
picked up something which he held in the palm of his
hand. I bent over. Something gleamed in the morn-
ing sunshine — some little thin pieces of glass. As
he tried deftly to fit the tiny little bits together, he
seemed absorbed in thought. Quickly he raised it to
his nose, as if to smell it.
'' Ethyl chloride ! " he muttered, wrapping the pieces
carefully in a paper and putting them into his pocket.
An instant later he crossed the room to the window
and examined it.
" Look ! " he exclaimed.
There, plainly, were marks of a jimmy w^hich had
been inserted near the lock to ipry it open.
" Miss Dodge," he asked, " might I — might I trou-
ble you to let me see your arm ? "
Wonderingly she did so and Kennedy bent almost
reverently over her plump arm examining it.
On it was a small dark discoloration, around which
w^as a slight redness and tenderness.
*' That," he said slowly, '' is the mark of a hypo-
As he finished examining Elaine's arm he drew the
letter from his pocket. Still facing her he said in a
low tone, '' ]\Iiss Dodge — you did write this letter —
but under the influence of the new ' twilight sleep.' "
We looked at one another amazed.
Outside, if we had been at the door in the hallway,
we might have seen the sinister-faced Michael listen-
ing. He turned and slipped quietly away.
32 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
" Why, Craig/' I exclaimed excitedly, '' what do
you mean ? "
" Exactly what I say. With Miss Dodge's permis-
sion I shall show you. By a small administration of
the drug which will injure you in no way, Miss Dodge,
I think I can bring back the memory of all that oc-
curred to you last night. Will you allow me? "
*' Mercy, no ! " protested Aunt Josephine.
Craig and Elaine faced each other as they had the
day before when she had asked him whether the sud-
den warning of the Clutching Hand would intimidate
him. She advanced a step nearer. Elaine trusted
" Elaine ! " protested Aunt Josephine again.
" I want the experiment to be tried,'' she said
A moment later Kennedy had placed her in a wing
chair in the comer of the room.
'' Now, Mrs. Dodge," he said, " please bring me a
basin and a towel."
Aunt Josephine, reconciled, brought them. Ken-
nedy dropped an antiseptic tablet into the water and
carefully sterilized Elaine's arm just above the spot
where the red mark showed. Then he drew the hypo-
dermic from his pocket — carefully sterilizing it, also,
and filling it with scopolamine from the bottle.
'' Just a moment, Miss Dodge," he encouraged as
he jabbed the needle into her arm.
She did not wince.
" Please He back on the couch," he directed. Then
turning to us he added, '* It takes some time for this
to work. Our criminal got over that fact and pre-
THE TWILIGHT SLEEP 33
vented an outcry by using ethyl chloride first. Let
me reconstruct the scene/'
As we watched Elaine going under slowly, Craig
" That night," he said, " warily, the masked crim-
inal of the Clutching Hand might have been seen
down below us in the alley. Up here. Miss Dodge,
worn out by the strain of her father's death, let us
say, was nervously trying tc read, to do anything that
would take her mind off the tragedy. Perhaps she
'' Just then the Clutching Hand appeared. He
came stealthily through that window which he had
opened. A moment he hesitated, seeing Elaine asleep.
Then he tiptoed over to the bed, let us say, and for a
moment looked at her, sleeping.
" A second later he had thrust his hand into his
pocket and had taken out a small glass bulb with a long
thin neck. That was ethyl chloride, a drug which
produces a quick anesthesia. But it lasts only a min-
ute or two. That was enough, As he broke the glass
neck of the bulb — letting the pieces fall on the floor
near the bed — he shoved the thing under Elaine's
face, turning his own head away and holding a hand-
kerchief over his own nose. The mere heat of his
hand was enough to cause the ethyl chloride to spray
out and overcome her instantly. He stepped away
from her a moment and replaced the now empty vial
in his pocket.
" Then he took a box from his pocket, opened it.
There must have been a syringe and a bottle of
scopolamine. Where they came from I do not know,
but perhaps from some hospital. I shall have to find
34 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
that out later. He went to Elaine, quickly jabbing
the needle, with no resistance from her now. Slowly
he replaced the bottle and the needle in his pocket.
He could not have been in any hurry now, for it takes
time for the drug to work."
Kennedy paused. Had we known at the time, Mi-
chael — he of the sinister face — must have been in
the hallway, careful that no one saw him. A tap at
the door and the Clutching Hand, that night, must
have beckoned him. A moment's parley and they
separated — Clutching Hand going back to Elaine,
who was now under the influence of the second drug.
'* Our criminal,'' resumed Kennedy thoughtfully,
*' may have shaken Elaine. She did not answer. Then
he may have partly revived her. She must have been
startled. Clutching Hand, perhaps, was half crouch-
ing, with a big ugly blue steel revolver leveled full in
" ' One word and I shoot ! ' he probably cried. " Get
" Trembling, she must have done so. ' Your slip-
pers and a kimono,' he would naturally have ordered.
She put them on mechanically. Then he must have
ordered her to go out of the door and down the stairs.
Clutching Hand must have followed and as he did so
he would have cautiously put out the lights."
We were following, spell-bound, Kennedy's graphic
reconstruction of what must have happened. Evi-
dently he had struck close to the truth. Elaine's eyes
were closed. Gently Kennedy led her along. *' Now,
Miss Dodge," he encouraged, '' try — try hard to
recollect just what it was that happened last night —
THE TWILIGHT SLEEP 35
As Kennedy paused after his quick recital, she
seemed to tremble all over. Slowly she began to speak.
We stood awestruck. Kennedy had been right !
The girl was now living over again those minutes
that had been forgotten — blotted out by the drug.
And it was all real to her, too, — terribly real. She
was speaking, plainly in terror.
'' I see a man — oh, such a figure — with a mask.
He holds a gun in my face — he threatens me. I put
on my kimono and slippers, as he tells me. I am in a
daze. I know what I am doing — and I don't know.
I go out with him, downstairs, into the library."
Elaine shuddered again at the recollection. '' Ugh !
The room is dark, the room where he killed my father.
Moonlight outside streams in. This masked man and
I come in. He switches on the lights.
'* * Go to the safe,' he says, and I do it, the new
safe, you know. 'Do you know the combination?'
he asks me. * Yes,' I reply, too frightened to say no.
" ' Open it then,' he says, waving that awful re-
volver closer. I do so. Hastily he rummages through
it, throwing papers here and there. But he seems not
to find what he is after and turns away, swearing fear-
" * Hang it ! ' he cries to me. * Where else did your
father keep papers ? ' I point in desperation at the
desk. He takes one last look at the safe, shoves all
the papers he has strewn on the floor back again and
slams the safe shut.
" ' Now, come on ! ' he says, indicating with the gun
that he wants me to follow him away from the Safe.
At the desk he repeats the search. But he finds noth-
ing. Almost I think he is about to kill me. ' Where
36 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
else did your father keep papers ? ' he hisses fiercely,
still threatening me with the gun.
*' I am too frightened to speak. But at last I am
able to say, * I — I don't know ! ' Again he threat-
ens me. ' As God is my judge,' I cry, ' I don't know.'
It is fearful. Will he shoot me?
*' Thank heaven ! At last he believes me. But
such a look of foiled fury I have never seen on any
human face before.
'' ' Sit down ! ' he growls, adding, ' at the desk.'
*' ' Take some of your notepaper — the best.' I
do that, too.
" ' And a pen,' he goes on. My fingers can hardly
" ^ Now — write ! ' he says, and as he dictates, I
write — "
^^This?" interjected Kennedy, eagerly holding up
the letter that he had received from her.
Elaine looked it over with her drug-laden eyes.
*' Yes," she nodded, then lapsed again to the scene
itself. ** He reads it over and as he does so says,
^ Now, address an envelope.' Himself he folds the
letter, seals the envelope, stamps it, and drops it into
his pocket, hastily straightening the desk.
'^ ^ Now, go ahead of me — again. Leave the room
— no, by the hall door. We are going back upstairs.'
I obey him, and at the door he switches off the lights.
How I stand it, I don't know. I go upstairs, mechan-
ically, into my own room — I and this masked man.
" ' Take oflf the kimono and slippers ! ' he orders.
I do that. ^ Get into bed ! ' he growls. I crawl in
fearfully. For a moment he looks about, — then goes
THE TWILIGHT SLEEP 37
out — with a look back as he goes. Oh ! Oh ! That
hand — which he raises at me — that hand ! ^'
The poor girl was sitting bolt upright, staring
straight at the hall door, as we watched and listened,
Kennedy was bending over, soothing her. She gave
evidences of coming out from the effect of the drug.
I noticed that Bennett had suddenly moved a step
in the direction of the door at which she stared.
'' My God ! '' he muttered, staring, too. '' Look ! ''
We did look. A letter was slowly being inserted
under the door.
I took a quick step forward. That moment I felt
a rough tug at my arm, and a voice whispered, "' Wait
— you chump ! "
It was Kennedy. He had whipped out his auto-
matic and had carefully leveled it at the door. Be-
fore he could fire, however, Bennett had rushed ahead.
I followed. We looked down the hall. Sure
enough, the figure of a man could be seen disappear-
ing around an angle. I followed Bennett out of the
door and down the hall.
Words cannot keep pace with what followed. To-
gether we rushed to the backstairs.
" Down there, while I go down the front ! " cried
I went down and he turned and went down the other
flight. As he did so, Craig followed him.
Suddenly, in the drawing room, I bumped into a fig-
ure on the other side of the portieres. I seized him.
We struggled. Rip ! The portieres came down, cov-
ering me entirely. Over and over we went, smashing
38 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
a lamp. It was vicious. Another man attacked me,
"I — I 've got him — Kennedy ! " I heard a voice
pant over me.
A scream followed from Aunt Josephine. Sud-
denly the portieres were pulled off me.
'' The deuce ! " puffed Kennedy. '* It's Jameson ! "
Bennett had rushed plump into me, coming the other
way, hidden by the portieres.
If we had known at the time, our Michael of the
sinister face had gained the library and was standing
in the center of the room. He had heard me coming
and had fled to the drawing room. As we finished our
struggle in the library, he rose hastily from behind the
divan in the other room where he had dropped and
had quietly and hastily disappeared through another
Laughing and breathing hard, they helped me to my
feet. It was no joke to me. I was sore in every
" Well, where did he go ? " insisted Bennett.
" I don't know — perhaps back there," I cried.
Bennett and I argued a moment, then started and
stopped short. Aunt Josephine had run downstairs
and now was shoving the letter into Craig's hands.
We gathered about him, curiously. He opened it.
On it was that awesome Clutching Hand again.
Kennedy read it. For a moment he stood and
studied it, then slowly crushed it in his hand.
Just then Elaine, pale and shaken from the ordeal
she had voluntarily gone through, burst in upon us
from upstairs. Without a word she advanced to Craig
and took the letter from him.
THE TWILIGHT SLEEP 39
Inside, as on the envelope, was that same signature
of the Clutching Hand.
Elaine gazed at it wild-eyed, then at Craig. Craig
smilingly reached for the note, took it, folded it and
unconcernedly thrust it into his pocket.
'' My God ! " she cried, clasping her hands convul-
sively and repeating the words of the letter. " Your
LAST WARNING ! "
THE VANISHING JEWELS
Banging away at my typewriter, the next day, in
Kennedy's laboratory, I was startled by the sudden,
insistent ringing of the telephone near me.
'' Hello," I answered, for Craig was at work at his
table, trying still to extract some clue from the slender
evidence thus far elicited in the Dodge mystery.
'' Oh, Mr. Kennedy," I heard an excited voice over
the wire reply, '* my friend, Susie Martin is here.
Her father has just received a message from that
Clutching Hand and — "
" Just a moment, Miss Dodge," I interrupted. "This
is Mr. Jameson."
'* Oh ! " came back the voice, breathless and disap-
pointed. '' Let me have Mr. Kennedy — quick."
I had already passed the telephone to Craig and was
watching him keenly as he listened over it. The an-
ticipation of a message from Elaine did not fade, yet
his face grew grave as he listened.
He motioned to me for a pad and pencil that lay
40 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
" Please read the letter again, slower, Miss Dodge,"
he asked, adding, " There isn't time for me to see it
— just yet. But I want it exactly. You say it is
made up of separate words and type cut from news-
papers and pasted on note paper ? "
I handed him paper and pencil.
'' All right now. Miss Dodge, go ahead."
As he wrote, he indicated to me by his eyes that he
wanted me to read. I did so :
" Sturtevant Martin, Jeweler,
" 7391/2 Fifth Ave.,
" New York City.
*' As you have failed to deliver the $10,000, I shall
rob your main diamond case at exactly noon today."
" Thank you. Miss Dodge," continued Kennedy,
laying down the pencil. " Yes, I understand perfectly
— signed by that same Clutching Hand. Let me see,"
he pondered, looking at his watch. " It is now just
about half past eleven. Very well. I shall meet you
and Miss Martin at Mr. Martin's store directly."
It lacked five minutes of noon when Kennedy and
I dashed up before Martin's and dismissed our taxi-
A remarkable scene greeted us as we entered the
famous jewelry shop. Involuntarily I drew back.
Squarely in front of us a man had suddenly raised a
revolver and leveled it at us.
" Don't ! " cried a familiar voice. '' That is Mr.
Kennedy ! "
Just then, from a little knot of people, Elaine Dodge
sprang forward with a cry and seized the gun.
THE VANISHING JEWELS 41
Kennedy turned to her, apparently not half so much
concerned about the automatic that yawned at him as
about the anxiety of the pretty girl who had inter-
vened. The too eager plainclothesman lowered the
Sturtevant Martin was a typical society business
man, quietly but richly dressed. He was inclined to
be pompous and affected a pair of rather distinguished
looking side whiskers.
In the excitement I glanced about hurriedly.
There were two or three policemen in the shop and
several plainclothesmen, some armed with formidable
looking sawed-off shot guns.
Directly in front of me was a sign, tacked up on a
pillar, which read, '' This store will be closed at noon
today. Martin & Co."
All the customers were gone. In fact the clerks
had had some trouble in clearing the shop, as many of
them expressed not only surprise but exasperation at
the proceeding. Nevertheless the clerks had politely
but insistently ushered them out.
Martin himself was evidently very nervous and very
much alarmed. Indeed no one could blame him for
that. Merely to have been singled out by this amazing
master criminal was enough to cause panic. Already
he had engaged detectives, prepared for whatever might
happen, and they had advised him to leave the dia-
monds in the counter, clear the store, and let the crooks
try anything, if they dared.
I fancied that he was somewhat exasperated at his
daughter's presence, too, but could see that her ex-
planation of Elaine's and Perry Bennett's interest in
the Clutching Hand had considerably moUified him.
42 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
He had been talking with Bennett as we came in and
evidently had a high respect for the young lawyer.
Just back of us, and around the comer, as we came
in, we had noticed a limousine which had driven up.
Three faultlessly attired dandies had entered a door-
way down the street, as we learned afterwards, appar-
ently going to a fashionable tailor's which occupied
the second floor of the old-fashioned building, the first
floor having been renovated and made ready for rent-
ing. Had we been there a moment sooner we might
have seen, I suppose, that one of them nodded to a
taxicab driver who was standing at a public hack
stand a few feet up the block. The driver nodded
unostentatiously back to the men.
In spite of the excitement, Kennedy quietly exam-
ined the show case, which was, indeed, a veritable
treasure store of brilliants. Then with a keen scru-
tinizing glance he looked over the police and detectives
gathered around. There was nothing to do now but
wait, as the detectives had advised.
I looked at a large antique grandfather's clock which
was standing nearby. It now lacked scarcely a minute
Slowly the hands of the clock came nearer together
We all gathered about the show case with its glit-
tering hoard of wealth, forming a circle at a respectful
Martin pointed nervously at the clock.
In deep-lunged tones the clock played the chords
written. I believe, by Handel. Then it began striking.
As it did so, Martin involuntarily counted off the
THE VANISHING JEWELS 43
strokes, while one of the plainclothesmen waved his
shotgun in unison.
Martin finished counting.
Nothing had happened.
We all breathed a sigh of relief.
" Well, it is still there ! " exclaimed Martin, pointing
at the show-case, with a forced laugh.
Suddenly came a rending and crashing sound. It
seemed as if the very floor on which we stood was giv-
The show-case, with all its priceless contents, went
smashing down into the cellar below.
The flooring beneath the case had been cut through !
All crowded forward, gazing at the black yawning
cavern. A moment we hesitated, then gingerly craned
our necks over the edge.
Down below, three men, covered with linen dusters
and their faces hidden by masks, had knocked the
props away from the ceiling of the cellar, which they
had sawed almost through at their leisure, and the
show case had landed eight or ten feet below, shivered
into a thousand bits.
A volley of shots whizzed past us, and another.
While one crook was hastily stuffing the untold wealth
of jewels into a burlap bag, the others had drawn re-
volvers and were firing up through the hole in the
Martin, his detectives, and the rest of us fell back
from the edge of the chasm hastily, to keep out of
range of the hail of bullets.
'* Look out ! " cried someone behind us, before we
could recover from our first surprise and return the
44 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
One of the desperadoes had taken a bomb from
under his duster, lighted it, and thrown it up through
the hole in the floor.
It sailed up over our heads and landed near our little
group on the floor, the fuse sputtering ominously.
Quickly we divided and backed away even further.
I heard an exclamation of fear from Elaine.
Kennedy had pushed his way past us and picked
up the deadly infernal machine in his bare hands.
I watched him, fascinated. As near as he dared,
he approached the hole in the floor, still holding the
thing off at arm's length. Would he never throw it?
He was coolly holding it, allowing the fuse to burn
down closer to the explosion point.
It was now within less than an inch sure death.
Suddenly he raised it and hurled the deadly thing
down through the hole.
We could hear the imprecations of the crooks as it
struck the cellar floor, near them. They had evidently
been still cramming jewelry into the capacious maw
of the bag. One of them, discovering the bomb, must
have advanced toward it, then retreated when he saw
how imminent was the explosion.
" Leave the store — quick ! " rang out Kennedy's
We backed away as fast as those behind us would
permit. Kennedy and Bennett were the last to leave,
in fact paused at the door.
Down below the crooks were beating a hasty retreat
through a secret entrance which they had effected.
*' The bag ! The bag ! " we could hear one of them
THE VANISHING JEWELS 45
" The bomb — run ! " cried another voice gruffly.
A second later came an ominous silence. The last
of the three must have fled.
The explosion that followed lifted us fairly ofif our
feet. A great puflF of smoke came belching up through
the hole, followed by the crashing of hundreds of dol-
lars' worth of glass ware in the jewelry shop as frag-
ments of stone, brick and mortar and huge splinters
of wood were flung with tremendous force in every
direction from the miniature volcano.
As the smoke from the explosion cleared away, Ken-
nedy could be seen, the first to run forward.
Meanwhile Martin's detectives had rushed down
a flight of back stairs that led into a coal cellar. With
coal shovels and bars, anything they could lay hands
on, they attacked the door that opened forward from
the coal cellar into the front basement where the rob-
bers had been.
A moment Kennedy and Bennett paused on the
brink of the abyss which the bomb had made, waiting
for the smoke to decrease. Then they began to climb
down cautiously over the piled up wreckage.
The explosion had set the basement afire, but the
iire had not gained much headway, by the time they
reached the basement. Quickly Kennedy ran to the
door into the coal cellar and opened it.
From the other side, Martin, followed by the police
and the detectives, burst in.
*' Fire ! " cried one of the policemen, leaping back
to turn in an alarm from the special apparatus up-
All except Martin began beating out the flames,
46 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
using such weapons as they already held in their hands
to batter down the door.
To Martin there was one thing paramount — the
In the midst of the confusion, Elaine, closely fol-
lowed by her friend Susie, made her way fearlessly
into the stifle of smoke down the stairs.
'' There are your jewels, Mr. Martin," cried Ken-
nedy, kicking the precious burlap bag with his foot
as if it had been so much ordinary merchandise, and
turning toward what was in his mind the most impor-
tant thing at stake — the direction taken by the agents
of the Clutching Hand.
*' Thank heaven!" ejaculated Martin, fairly pounc-
ing on the bag and tearing it open. " They didn't get
away with them — after all ! " he exclaimed, examining
the contents with satisfaction. '* See — you must have
frightened them off at just the right moment when
you sent the bomb back at them."
Elaine and Susie pressed forward eagerly as he
poured forth the sparkling stream of gems, intact.
'* Wasn't he just simply wonderful ! " I heard Susie
whisper to Elaine.
Elaine did not answer. She had eyes or ears for
nothing now in the melee but Kennedy.
Events were moving rapidly.
The limousine had been standing innocently enough
at the curb near the corner, with the taxicab close be-
Less than ten minutes after they had entered, three
well-dressed men came out of the vacant shop, appar-
THE VANISHING JEWELS 47
ently from the tailor's above, and climbed leisurely
into their car.
As the last one entered, he half turned to the taxicab
driver, hiding from passers-by the sign of the Clutch-
ing Hand which the taxicab driver returned, in the
same manner. Then the big car whirled up the avenue.
All this we learned later from a street sweeper who
was at work nearby.
Down below, while the police and detectives were
putting out the fire, Kennedy was examining the wall
of the cellar, looking for the spot where the crooks
" A secret door ! " he exclaimed, as he paused after
tapping along the wall to determine its character.
" You can see how the force of the explosion has
Sure enough, when he pointed it out to us, it was
plainly visible. One of the detectives picked up a
crowbar and others, still with the hastily selected im-
plements they had seized to fight the fire, started in to
pry it open.
As it yielded, Kennedy pushed his way through.
Elaine, always utterly fearless, followed. Then the
rest of us went through.
There seemed to be nothing, however, that would
help us in the cellar next door, and Kennedy mounted
the steps of a stairway in the rear.
The stairway led to a sort of storeroom, full of bar-
rels and boxes, but otherwise characterless. When
I arrived Kennedy was gingerly holding up the dusters
which the crooks had worn.
** We're on the right trail," commented Elaine as he
48 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
showed them to her, " but where do you suppose the
owners are ? "
Craig shrugged his shoulders and gave a quick look
about. " Evidently they came in from and went away
by the street," he observed, hurrying to the door, fol-
lowed by Elaine.
On the sidewalk, he gazed up the avenue, then catch-
ing sight of the street cleaner, called to him.
" Yes, sir," replied the man, stolidly looking up from
his work. " I see three gentlemen come out and get
into an automobile."
" Which way did they go? " asked Kennedy.
For answer the man jerked his thumb over his
shoulder in the general direction uptown.
'^ Did you notice the number of the car ? " asked
The man shrugged his shoulders blankly.
With keen glance, Kennedy strained his eyes. Far
up the avenue, he could descry the car threading its
way in and out among the others, just about disap-
A moment later Craig caught sight of the vacant
taxicab and crooked his finger at the driver, who an-
swered promptly by cranking his engine.
** You saw that limousine standing there?" asked
" Yes," nodded the chauffeur with a show of alert-
" Well, follow it," ordered Kennedy, jumping into
Craig was just about to close the door when a slight
THE VANISHING JEWELS 49
figure flashed past us and a dainty foot was placed on
" Please, Mr. Kennedy," pleaded Elaine, '' let me
go. They may lead to my father's slayer.''
She said it so earnestly that Craig could scarcely
have resisted if he had wanted to do so.
Just as Elaine and Kennedy were moving off, I
came out of the vacant store, with Bennett and the de-
'' Craig ! " I called. " Where are you going ? "
Kennedy stuck his head out of the window and I am
quite sure that he was not altogether displeased that
I was not with him.
" Chasing that limousine," he shouted back. '' Fol-
low us in another car."
A moment later he and Elaine were gone.
Bennett and I looked about.
" There are a couple of cabs — down there," I
pointed out at the other end of the block. '' Til take
one you take the other."
Followed by a couple of the detectives, I jumped
into the first one I came to, excitedly telling the driver
to follow Kennedy's taxi, directing him with my head
out of the window.
'' Mr. Jameson, please — can't I go wath you ? "
I turned. It was Susie Martin. " One of you
fellows, go in the other car," I asked the detect-
Before the man could move, Mr. Martin himself
'' No, Susan, I — I won't allow it," he ordered.
" But Elaine went," she pouted.
so THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
*' Well, Elaine is — ah — I won't have it/' stormed
There was no time to waste. With a hasty apology,
I drove off.
Who, besides Bennett, went in the other car, I don't
know, but it made no difference, for we soon lost'
them. Our driver, however, was a really clever fel-
low. Far ahead now we could see the limousine drive
around a corner, making a dangerous swerve. Ken-
nedy's cab followed, skidding dangerously near a pole.
But the taxicab was no match for the powerful
limousine. On uptown they went, the only thing pre-
venting the limousine from escaping being the fear of
pursuit by traffic police if the driver let out speed.
They were content to manage to keep just far enough
ahead to be out of danger of having Kennedy over-
haul them. As for us, we followed as best we could,
on uptown, past the city line, and out into the country.
There Kennedy lost sight altogether of the car he
was trailing. Worse than that, we lost sight of Ken-
nedy. Still we kept on blindly, trusting to luck and
common sense in picking the road.
I was peering ahead over the driver's shoulder, the
window down, trying to direct him, when we ap-
proached a fork in the road. Here was a dilemma
which must be decided at once rightly or wrongly.
As we neared the crossroad, I gave an involuntary
exclamation. Beside the road, almost on it, lay the
figure of a man. Our driver pulled up with a jerk
and I was out of the car in an instant.
There lay Kennedy! Someone had blackjacked
him. He was groaning and just beginning to show
signs of consciousness as I bent over.
THE VANISHING JEWELS 51
" What's the matter, old man ? " I asked, helping
him to his feet.
He looked about dazed a moment, then seeing me
and comprehending, he pointed excitedly, but vaguely.
'^ Elaine ! '' he cried. *' They've kidnapped Elaine ! "
What had really happened, as we learned later from
Elaine and others, was that when the cross roads was
reached, the three crooks in the limousine had stopped
long enough to speak to an accomplice stationed there,
according to their plan for a getaway. He was a tough
looking individual who might have been hoboing it
to the city.
When, a few minutes later, Kennedy and Elaine
had approached the fork, their driver had slowed up,
as if in doubt which way to go. Craig had stuck his
head out of the window, as I had done, and, seeing
the crossroads, had told the chauffeur to stop. There
stood the hobo.
" Did a car pass here, just now — a big car? " called
The man put his hand to his ear, as if only half
" Which way did the big car go ? " repeated Ken-
The hobo approached the taxicab sullenly, as if he
had a grudge against cars in general.
One question after another elicited little that could
be construed as intelligence. If Craig had only been
able to see, he would have found out that, with his
back toward the taxicab driver, the hobo held one
hand behind him and made the sign of the Clutching
Hand, glancing surreptitiously at the driver to catch
52 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
the answering sign, while Craig gazed earnestly up the
At last Craig gave him up as hopeless. '' Well —
go ahead — that way," he indicated, picking the most
As the chauffeur was about to start, he stalled his
*' Hurry ! " urged Craig, exasperated at the delays.
The driver got out and tried to crank the engine.
Again and again he turned it over, but, somehow, it
refused to start. Then he lifted the hood and began
*' What's the matter?" asked Craig, impatiently
jumping out and bending over the engine, too.
The driver shrugged his shoulders. " Must be
something wrong with the ignition, I guess," he re-
Kennedy looked the car over hastily. " I can't see
anything wrong," he frowned.
" Well, there is," growled the driver.
Precious minutes were speeding away, as they ar-
gued. Finally with his characteristic energy, Ken-
nedy put the taxicab driver aside.
" Let me try it," he said. '' Miss Dodge, will you
arrange that spark and throttle ? "
Elaine, equal to anything, did so, and Craig bent
down and cranked the engine. It started on the first
'' See ! " he exclaimed. *' There wasn't anything,
He took a step toward the taxicab.
" Say," objected the driver, nastily, interposing him-
self between Craig and the wheel which he seemed dis-
THE \\\XISHIXG JEWELS 53
posed to take now, ''' who's running this boat, any-
how ? ''
Surprised, Kennedy tried to shoulder the fellow out
of the w^ay. The driver resisted sullenly.
" Mr. Kennedy — look out ! '' cried Elaine.
Craig turned. But it was too late. The rough
looking fellow had wakened to life. Suddenly he
stepped up behind Kennedy with a blackjack. As the
heaVy weight descended, Craig crumpled up on the
With a scream, Elaine turned and started to run.
But the chauffeur seized her arm.
'' Say, bo," he asked of the rough fellow, '' what
does Clutching Hand w^ant with her? Quick!
There's another cab likely to be along in a moment
with that fellow Jameson in it."
The rough fellow, with an oath, seized her and
dragged her into the taxicab. '' Go ahead ! " he
growled, indicating the road.
And away they sped, leaving Kennedy unconscious
on the side of the road where we found him.
"What are we to do?" I asked helplessly of Ken-
nedy, when we had at last got him on his feet.
His head still ringing from the force of the blow
of the blackjack, Craig stooped down, then knelt in
the dust of the road, then ran ahead a bit where it was
" Which way — which way ? " he muttered to him-
I thought perhaps the blow had affected him and
leaned over to see what he was doing. Instead, he
was studying the marks made by the tire of the
54 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
Clutching Hand cab. Very decidedly, there in the
road, the little anti-skid marks on the tread of the
tire showed — some worn, some cut — but with each
revolution the same marks reappearing unmistakably.
More than that, it was an unusual make of tire. Craig
was actually studying the finger prints, so to speak, of
More slowly now and carefully, we proceeded, for
a mistake meant losing the trail of Elaine. Kennedy
absolutely refused to get inside our cab, but clung
tightly to a metal rod outside while he stood on the
running board — now straining his eyes along the road
to catch any faint glimpse of either taxi or limousine,
or the dust from them, now gazing intently at the
ground following the finger prints of the taxicab that
was carrying off Elaine. All pain was forgotten by
him now in the intensity of his anxiety for her.
We came to another crossroads and the driver
glanced at Craig. ** Stop ! " he ordered.
In another instant he was down in the dirt, exam-
ining the road for marks.
" That way ! " he indicated, leaping back to the run-
We piled back into the car and proceeded under
Kennedy's direction, as fast as he would permit. So
it continued, perhaps for a couple of hours.
At last Kennedy stopped the cab and slowly di-
rected the driver to veer into an open space that looked
peculiarly lonesome. Near it stood a one story brick
factory building, closed, but not abandoned.
As I looked about at the unattractive scene, Ken-
nedy already was down on his knees in the dirt again,
studying the tire tracks. They were all confused.
THE VANISHING JEWELS 55
showing that the taxicab we were following had evi-
dently backed in and turned several times before
'' Crossed by another set of tire tracks ! " he ex-
claimed excitedly, studying closer. " That must have
been the limousine, w^aiting."
Laboriously he was following the course of the cars
in the open space, when the one word escaped him,
'' Footprints ! ''
He was up and off in a moment, before we could
imagine what he was after. We had got out of the
cab, and followed him as, down to the very shore of
a sort of cove or bay, he went. There lay a rusty, dis-
carded boiler on the beach, half submerged in the rising
tide. At this tank the footprints seemed to go right
down the sand and into the waves which were slowly
obliterating them. Kennedy gazed out as if to make
out a possible boat on the horizon, where the cove
" Look ! '' he cried.
Farther down the shore, a few feet, I had discov-
ered the same prints, going in the opposite direction,
back toward the place from which we had just come.
I started to follow them, but soon found myself alone.
Kennedy had paused beside the old boiler.
*' What is it?" I asked, retracing my steps.
He did not answer, but seemed to be Hstening. We
listened also. There certainly w^as a most peculiar
noise inside that tank.
Was it a muffled scream ?
Kennedy reached down and picked up a rock, hitting
the tank a resounding blow. As the echo died down,
he listened again.
56 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
Yes, there was a sound — a scream perhaps — a
woman's voice, faint, but unmistakable.
I looked at his face inquiringly. Without a word
I read in it the confirmation of the thought that had
flashed into my mind.
Elaine Dodge was inside !
First had come the limousine, with its three bandits,
to the spot fixed on as a rendezvous. Later had come
the taxicab. As it hove into sight, the three well-
dressed crooks had drawn revolvers, thinking perhaps
the plan for getting rid of Kennedy might possibly
have miscarried. But the taxicab driver and the
rough-faced fellow had reassured them with the sign
of the Clutching Hand, and the revolvers were low-
As they parleyed hastily, the rough-neck and the
fake chauflfeur lifted Elaine out of the taxi. She was
bound and gagged.
" Well, now we've got her, what shall we do with
her? " asked one.
" It's got to be quick. There's another cab," put in
" The deuce with that."
" The deuce with nothing," he returned. '' That
fellow Kennedy's a clever one. He may come to. If
he does, he won't miss us. Quick, now ! "
*' I wish I'd broken his skull," muttered the rough-
'* We'd better leave her somewhere here," remarked
one of the better-dressed three. " I don't think the
chief wants us to kill her — yet," he added, with an
ominous glance at Elaine, who in spite of threats was
THE VANISHING JEWELS 57
not cowed, but was vainly struggling at her bonds.
" Well, where shall it be ? " asked another.
They looked about.
*' See," cried the third. " See that, old boiler down
there at the edge of the water? Why not put her in
there? No one'U ever think to look in such a place."
Down by the water's edge, where he pointed, lay a
big boiler such as is used on stationary engines, with
its end lapped by the waves. With a hasty expression
of approval, the rough-neck picked Elaine up bodily,
still struggling vainly, and together they carried her,
bound and gagged, to the tank. The opening, which
was toward the water, was small, but they managed,
roughly, to thrust her in.
A moment later and they had rolled up a huge boul-
der against the small entrance, bracing it so that it
would be impossible for her to get out from the in-
side. Then they drove off hastily.
Inside the old boiler lay Elaine, still bound and
gagged. If she could only scream! Someone might
hear. She must get help. There was water in the
tank. She managed to lean up inside it, standing as
high as the walls would allow her, trying to keep her
head above the water.
Frantically, she managed to loosen the gag. She
screamed. Her voice seemed to be bound around by
the iron walls as was she herself. She shuddered.
The water was rising — had reached her chest, and
was still rising, slowly, inexorably.
What should she do? Would no one hear her?
The water was up to her neck now. She held her
head as high as she could and screamed again.
58 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
What was that? Silence? Or was someone out-
Coolly, in spite of the emergency, Kennedy took in
the perilous situation.
The lower end of the boiler, which was on a slant
on the rapidly shelving beach, was now completely
under water and impossible to get at. Besides, the
opening was small, too small.
We pulled away the stone, but that did no good. No
one could hope to get in and then out again that way
alive — much less with a helpless girl. Yet something
must be done. The tank was practically submerged
inside, as I estimated quickly. Blows had no effect
on the huge iron trap which had been built to resist
many pounds of pressure.
Kennedy gazed about frantically and his eye caught
the sign on the factory :
OXYACETYLENE WELDING CO.
" Come, Walter,'' he cried, running up the shore.
A moment later, breathless, we reached the door-
way. It was, of course, locked. Kennedy whipped
out his revolver and several well-directed shots through
the keyhole smashed the lock. We put our shoulders
to it and swung the door open, entering the factory.
There was not a soul about, not even a watchman.
Hastily we took in the place, a forge and a number of
odds and ends of metal sheets, rods, pipes and angles.
Beside a workbench stood two long cylinders,
studded with bolts.
*' That's what I'm looking for," exclaimed Craig.
THE VANISHING JEWELS 59
'' Here, Walter, take one. I'll take the other — and
the tubes — and — ''
He did not pause to finish, but seized up a peculiar
shaped instrument, like a huge hook, with a curved
neck and sharp beak. Really it was composed of two
metal tubes which ran into a cylinder or mixing cham-
ber above the nozzle, while parallel to them ran an-
other tube with a nozzle of its own.
We ran, for there was no time to lose. As nearly
as I could estimate it, the water must now be slowly
closing over Elaine.
"What is it?" I asked as he joined up the tubes
from the tanks to the peculiar hook-like apparatus he
" An oxyacetylene blowpipe," he muttered back fe-
verishly working. '' Used for welding and cutting,
too," he added.
With a light he touched the nozzle. Instantly a
hissing, blinding flame-needle made the steel under it
incandescent. The terrific heat from one nozzle made
the steel glow. The stream of oxygen from the sec-
ond completely consumed the hot metal. And the
force of the blast carried a fine spray of disintegrated
metal before it. It was a brilliant sight. But it was
more than that. Through the very steel itself, the
flame, thousands of degrees hot, seemed to eat its way
in a flne line, as if it were a sharp knife cutting through
With tense muscles Kennedy skillfully guided the
terrible instrument that ate cold steel, wielding the
torch as deftly as if it had been, as indeed it was, a
magic wand of modern science.
He was actually cutting out a huge hole in the still
6o THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
exposed surface of the tank — all around, except for
a few inches, to prevent the heavy piece from falling
As Kennedy carefully bent outward the section of
the tank which he had cut, he quickly reached down
and lifted Elaine, unconscious, out of the water.
Gently he laid her on the sand. It was the work of
only a moment to cut the cords that bound her hands.
There she lay, pale and still. Was she dead ?
Kennedy worked frantically to revive her.
At last, slowly, the color seemed to return to her
pale lips. Her eyelids fluttered. Then her great, deep
As she looked up and caught sight of Craig bending
anxiously over her, she seemed to comprehend. For
a moment both were silent. Then Elaine reached up
and took his hand.
There was much in the look she gave him — admira-
tion, confidence, — love itself.
Heroics, however, were never part of Kennedy's
frank make-up. The fact was that her admiration,
even though not spoken, plainly embarrassed him.
Yet he forgot that as he looked at her lying there, frail
He stroked her forehead gently, laying back the wet
ringlets of her hair.
'' Craig," she murmured, '' you — youVe saved my
Her tone was eloquent.
" Elaine," he whispered, still gazing into her won-
derful eyes, *' the Clutching Hand shall pay for this !
It is a fight to the finish between us ! "
" THE FROZEN SAFE " 6i
'' THE FROZEN SAFE "
Kennedy swung open the door of our taxicab as
we pulled up, safe at last, before the Dodge mansion,
after the rescue of Elaine from the brutal machina-
tions of the Clutching Hand.
Bennett was on the step of the cab in a moment
and, together, one on each side of Elaine, they as-
sisted her out of the car and up the steps to the house.
As they mounted the steps, Kennedy called back to
me, '' Pay the driver, Walter, please."
It was the first time I had thought of that. As it
happened, I had quite a bankroll with me and, in my
hurry, I peeled oflf a ten dollar bill and tossed it to
the fellow, intending to be generous and tell him to
keep the change.
" Say," he exclaimed, pointing to the clock, '' come
across — twenty-three, sixty."
Protesting, I peeled oflf some more bills.
Having satisfied this veritable anaconda and gorged
his dilating appetite for banknotes, I turned to follow
the others. Jennings had opened the door immedi-
ately. Whether it w^as that he retained a grudge
against me or whether he did not see me, he would
have closed it before I could get up there. I called
and took the steps two at a time.
Elaine's Aunt Josephine w^as waiting for us in the
drawing room, very much worried. The dear old lady
w^as quite scandalized as Elaine excitedly told of the
thrilling events that had just taken place.
62 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
'' And to think they — actually — carried you ! " she
exclaimed, horrified, adding, *' And I not — "
'' But Mr. Kennedy came along and saved me just
in time," interrupted Elaine with a smile. " I was well
chaperoned ! "
Aunt Josephine turned to Craig gratefully. ^' How
can I ever thank you enough, Mr. Kennedy," she said
Kennedy was quite embarrassed. With a smile,
Elaine perceived his discomfiture, not at all displeased
** Come into the library," she cried gaily, taking his
arm. *' I've something to show you."
Where the old safe which had been burnt through
had stood was now a brand new safe of the very latest
construction and design — one of those that look and
are so formidable.
** Here is the new safe," she pointed out brightly.
^' It is not only proof against explosives, but between
the plates is a lining that is proof against thermit and
even that oxy-acetylene blowpipe by which you res-
cued me from the old boiler. It has a time lock, too,
that will prevent its being opened at night, even if
anyone should learn the combination."
They stood before the safe a moment and Kennedy
examined it closely with much interest.
" Wonderful ! " he admired.
" I knew you'd approve of it," cried Elaine, much
pleased. " Now I have something else to show you."
She paused at the desk and from a drawer took out
a portfolio of large photographs. They were very
handsome photographs of herself.
" THE FROZEN SAFE " 63
" Much more wonderful than the safe," remarked
Craig earnestly. Then, hesitating and a trifle embar-
rassed, he added, '' May I — may I have one ? "
" If you care for it," she said, dropping her eyes,
then glancing up at him quickly.
" Care for it? " he repeated. '* It will be one of the
She slipped the picture quickly into an envelope.
*' Come," she interrupted. " Aunt Josephine will be
wondering where we are. She — she's a demon
Bennett, Aunt Josephine and myself were talking
earnestly as Elaine and Craig returned.
" Well," said Bennett, glancing at his watch and
rising as he turned to Elaine, *' Fm afraid I must go,
He crossed over to where she stood and shook hands.
There was no doubt that Bennett was very much smit-
ten by his fair client.
" Good-bye, Mr. Bennett," she murmured, '* and
thank you so much for w^hat you have done for me to-
But there was something lifeless about the words.
She turned quickly to Craig, who had remained stand-
'' Must you go, too, Mr. Kennedy? " she asked, notic-
ing his position.
*' Fm afraid Mr. Jameson and I must be back on
the job before this Clutching Hand gets busy again,"
he replied reluctantly.
''Oh, I hope you — we get him soon!" she ex-
claimed, and there was nothing lifeless about the way
64 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
she gave Craig her hand, as Bennett, he and I left a
That morning I had noticed Kennedy fussing some
time at the door of our apartment before we went over
to the laboratory. As nearly as I could make out he
had placed something under the rug at the door out
into the hallway.
When we approached our door, now, Craig paused.
By pressing a little concealed button he caused a panel
in the wall outside to loosen, disclosing a small, box-
like plate in the wall underneath.
It was about a foot long and perhaps four inches
wide. Through it ran a piece of paper which un-
rolled from one coil and wound up on another, actu-
ated by clockwork. Across the blank white paper ran
an ink line traced by a stylographic pen, such as I had
seen in mechanical pencils used in offices, hotels, banks
and such places.
Kennedy examined the thing with interest.
"What is it?" I asked.
** A new seismograph,'^ he replied, still gazing care-
fully at the rolled up part of the paper. *' I have in-
stalled it because it registers every footstep on the
floor of our apartment. We can't be too careful with
this Clutching Hand. I want to know whether we
have any visitors or not in our absence. This straight
line indicates that we have not. Wait a moment."
Craig hastily unlocked the door and entered. In-
side, I could see him pacing up and down our modest
" Do you see anything, Walter? " he called.
I looked at the seismograph. The pen had started
" THE FROZEN SAFE " 65
to trace its line, no longer even and straight, but zigzag,
at different heights across the paper.
He came to the door. '' What do you think of it? "
" Splendid idea," I answered enthusiastically.
Our apartment was, as I have said, modest, consist-
ing of a large living room, two bedrooms, and bath —
an attractive but not ornate place, which we found
very cosy and comfortable. On one side of the room
was a big fire place, before which stood a fire screen.
We had collected easy chairs and capacious tables and
desks. Books were scattered about, literally overflow-
ing from the crowded shelves. On the walls were our
favorite pictures, while for ornament, I suppose I
might mention my typewriter and now and then some
of Craig's wonderful scientific apparatus as satisfying
our limited desire for the purely aesthetic.
We entered and fell to work at the aforementioned
typewriter, on a special Sunday story that I had been
forced to neglect. I was not so busy, however, that
I did not notice out of the corner of my eye that Ken-
nedy had taken from its cover Elaine Dodge's picture
and was gazing at it ravenously.
I put my hand surreptitiously over my mouth and
coughed. Kennedy wheeled on me and I hastily
banged a sentence out on the machine, making at least
half a dozen mistakes.
I had finished as much of the article as I could do
then and was smoking and reading it over. Kennedy
was still gazing at the picture Miss Dodge had given
him, then moving from place to place about the room,
evidently wondering where it would look best. I doubt
66 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
whether he had done another blessed thing since we re-
He tried it on the mantel. That wouldn't do. At
last he held it up beside a picture of Galton, I think,
of finger print and eugenics fame, who hung on the
wall directly opposite the fireplace. Hastily he com-
pared the two. Elaine's picture was of precisely the
Next he tore out the picture of the scientist and
threw it carelessly into the fireplace. Then he placed
Elaine's picture in its place and hung it up again, stand-
ing off to admire it.
I watched him gleefully. Was this Craig? Pur-
posely I moved my elbow suddenly and pushed a book
with a bang on the floor. Kennedy actually jumped.
I picked up the book with a muttered apology. No,
this was not the same old Craig.
Perhaps half an hour later, I was still reading. Ken-
nedy was now pacing up and down the room, appar-
ently unable to concentrate his mind on any but one
He stopped a moment before the photograph, looked
at it fixedly. Then he started his methodical walk
again, hesitated, and went over to the telephone, call-
ing a number which I recognized.
'' She must have been pretty well done up by her
experience," he said apologetically, catching my eye.
" I was wondering if — Hello — oh. Miss Dodge — I
— er — I — er — just called up to see if you were all
Craig was very much embarrassed, but also very
much in earnest.
A musical laugh rippled over the telephone. " Yes,
" THE FROZEN SAFE " 67
Vm all right, thank you, Mr. Kennedy — and I put the
package you sent me into the safe, but — "
"Package?" frowned Craig. ''Why, I sent you
no package, Miss Dodge. In the safe? "
" Why, yes, and the safe is all covered with mois-
ture — and so cold."
'' Moisture — cold ? " he repeated quickly.
'' Yes. I have been wondering if it is all right. In
fact, I was going to call you up, only I was afraid
you'd think I was foolish."
'' I shall be right over," he answered hastily, clap-
ping the receiver back on its hook. '' Walter," he
added, seizing his hat and coat, ''come on — hurry!"
A few minutes later we drove up in a taxi before the
Dodge house and rang the bell.
Jennings admitted us sleepily.
It could not have been long after we left IMiss Dodge
late in the afternoon that Susie }^Iartin, who had been
quite worried over our long absence after the attempt
to rob her father, dropped in on Elaine. Wide-eyed,
she had listened to Elaine's story of what had hap-
" And you think this Clutching Hand has never re-
covered the incriminating papers that caused him to
murder your father?" asked Susie.
Elaine shook her head. " Xo. Let me show you
the new safe I've bought. Mr. Kennedy thinks it
" I should think you'd be proud of it," admired
Susie. " I must tell father to get one, too."
At that very moment, if they had known it, the
Clutching Hand with his sinister, masked face, was
68 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
peering at the two girls from the other side of the por-
Susie rose to go and Elaine followed her to the
door. No sooner had she gone than the Clutching
Hand came out from behind the curtains. He gazed
about a moment, then moving over to the safe about
which the two girls had been talking, stealthily ex-
He must have heard someone coming, for, with a
gesture of hate at the safe itself, as though he personi-
fied it, he slipped back of the curtains again.
Elaine had returned and as she sat down at the desk
to go over some papers which Bennett had left rela-
tive to settling up the estate, the masked intruder
stealthily and silently withdrew.
" A package for you. Miss Dodge," announced Mi-
chael later in the evening as Elaine, in her dainty
evening gown, was still engaged in going over the pa-
pers. He carried it in his hands rather gingerly.
*' Mr. Kennedy sent it, ma'am. He says it contains
clues and will you please put it in the new safe for
Elaine took the package eagerly and examined it.
Then she pulled open the heavy door of the safe.
'* It must be getting cold out, Michael," she re-
marked. ** This package is as cold as ice."
'* It is, ma'am," answered Michael, deferentially with
a sidelong glance that did not prevent his watching het
She closed the safe and, with a glance at her watch,
set the time lock and went upstairs to her room.
No sooner had Elaine disappeared than Michael
appeared again, cat-like, through the curtains from the
" THE FROZEN SAFE " 69
drawing room, and, after a glance about the dimly
lighted library, discovering that the coast was clear,
motioned to a figure hiding behind the portieres.
A moment, and Clutching Hand himself came out.
He moved over to the safe and looked it over. Then
he put out his hand and touched it.
'* Good, Michael," he exclaimed with satisfaction.
" Listen ! " cautioned Michael.
Someone was coming and they hastily slunk behind
the protecting portieres. It was Marie, Elaine's maid.
She turned up the lights and went over to the desk
for a book for which Elaine had evidently sent her.
She paused and appeared to be listening. Then she
went to the door.
" Jennings ! " she beckoned.
'' What is it, Marie ? " he replied.
She said nothing, but as he came up the hall led him
to the center of the room.
" Listen ! I heard sighs and groans ! "
Jennings looked at her a moment, puzzled, then
laughed. '* You girls ! " he exclaimed. " I suppose
you'll always think the library haunted, now."
" But, Jennings, listen," she persisted.
Jennings did listen. Sure enough, there were
sounds, weird, uncanny. He gazed about the room.
It was eerie. Then he took a few steps toward the
safe. Marie put out her hand to it, and started back.
" Why, that safe is all covered with cold sweat ! "
she cried with bated breath.
Sure enough the face of the safe was beaded with
dampness. Jennings put his hand on it and quickly
drew it away, leaving a mark on the dampness.
*' Wh-what do you think of that? " he gasped.
70 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
" I'm going to tell Miss Dodge," cried Marie, gen-
A moment later she burst into Elaine's room.
'' What is the matter, Marie?*" asked Elaine, laying
down her book. '* You look as if you had seen a
'' Ah, but, mademoiselle — it ees just like that. The
safe — if mademoiselle will come downstairs, I will
show it you."
Puzzled but interested, Elaine followed her. In the
library Jennings pointed mutely at the new safe.
Elaine approached it. As they stood about new beads
of perspiration, as it were, formed on it. Elaine
touched it, and also quickly withdrew her hand.
" I can't imagine what's the matter," she said. " But
— well — Jennings, you may go — and Marie, also."
When the servants had gone she still regarded the
safe with the same wondering look, then turning out
the light, she followed.
She had scarcely disappeared when, from the por-
tiered doorway nearby, the Clutching Hand appeared,
and, after gazing out at them, took a quick look at the
'' Good ! " he muttered.
Noiselessly Michael of the sinister face moved in
and took a position in the center of the room, as if
on guard, while Clutching Hand sat before the safe
watching it intently.
'* Someone at the door — Jennings is answering the
bell," Michael whispered hoarsely.
" Confound it ! " muttered Clutching Hand, as both
moved again behind the heavy velour curtains.
" THE FROZEN SAFE " 71
" rm so glad to see you, Mr. Kennedy," greeted
Elaine unaffectedly as Jennings admitted us.
She had heard the bell and was coming downstairs
as we entered. We three moved toward the library
and someone switched on the lights.
Craig strode over to the safe. The cold sweat on
it had now turned to icicles. Craig's face clouded
with thought as he examined it more closely. There
was actually a groaning sound from within.
" It can't be opened," he said to himself. " The
time lock is set for tomorrow morning."
Outside, if we had not been so absorbed in the pres-
ent mystery, we might have seen Michael and the
Clutching Hand listening to us. Clutching Hand
looked hastily at his watch.
" The deuce ! " he muttered under his breath, stifling
his suppressed fury.
We stood looking at the safe. Kennedy was deeply
interested, Elaine standing close beside him. Sud-
denly he seemed to make up his mind.
*' Quick — Elaine ! " he cried, taking her arm.
" Stand back ! "
We all retreated. The safe door, powerful as it
was, had actually begun to warp and bend. The
plates were bulging. A moment later, with a loud
report and concussion the door blew off.
A blast of cold air and flakes like snow flew out.
Papers were scattered on every side.
We stood gazing, aghast, a second, then ran for-
ward. Kennedy quickly examined the safe. He bent
down and from the wreck took up a package, now
covered with white.
As quickly he dropped it.
^2 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
" That is the package that was sent," cried Elaine.
Taking it in a table cover, he laid it on the table
and opened it. Inside was a peculiar shaped flask,
open at the top, but like a vacuum bottle.
" A Dewar flask ! " ejaculated Craig.
** What is it ? '' asked Elaine, appealing to him.
*^ Liquid air ! " he answered. " As it evaporated,
the terrific pressure of expanding air in the safe in-
creased until it blew out the door. That is what
caused the cold sweating and the groans."
We watched him, startled.
On the other side of the portieres Michael and
Clutching Hand waited. Then, in the general con-
fusion. Clutching Hand slowly disappeared, foiled.
^* Where did this package come from ? " asked
Kennedy of Jennings suspiciously.
Jennings looked blank.
'' Why," put in Elaine, " Michael brought it to me."
" Get Michael," ordered Kennedy.
" Yes, sir," nodded Jennings.
A moment later he returned. '' I found him, go-
ing upstairs," reported Jennings, leading Michael in.
" Where did you get this package ? " shot out
" It was left at the door, sir, by a boy, sir."
Question after question could not shake that simple,
stolid sentence. Kennedy frowned.
" You may go," he said finally, as if reserving some-
thing for Michael later.
A sudden exclamation followed from Elaine as
Michael passed down the hall again. She had
moved over to the desk, during the questioning, and
was leanino^ arainst it.
" THE FROZEN SAFE " 73
Inadvertently she had touched an envelope. It was
addressed, *' Craig Kennedy."
Craig tore it open, Elaine bending anxiously over
his shoulder, frightened.
" You HAVE INTERFERED FOR THE LAST TIME. It IS
Beneath it stood the fearsome sign of the Clutch-
ing Hand !
The warning of the Clutching Hand had no other
effect on Kennedy than the redoubling of his precau-
tions for safety. Nothing further happened that
night, however, and the next morning found us early
at the laboratory.
It was the late forenoon, when after a hurried trip
down to the office, I rejoined Kennedy at his scientific
We walked down the street when a big limousine
shot past. Kennedy stopped in the middle of a re-
mark. He had recognized the car, with a sort of in-
At the same moment I saw a smiling face at the
window of the car. It was Elaine Dodge.
The car stopped in something less than twice its
length and then backed toward us.
Kennedy, hat ofif, was at the window In a moment.
There were Aunt Josephine, and Susie ]\Iartin, also.
"Where are you boys going?" asked Elaine, with
interest, then added with a gaiety that ill concealed
her real anxiety, " I'm so glad to see you — to see
74 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
that — er — nothing has happened from that dread-
ful Clutching Hand/'
'' Why, we were just going up to our rooms," re-
" Can't we drive you around ? "
We climbed in and a moment later were off. The
ride was only too short for Kennedy. We stepped
out in front of our apartment and stood chatting for
'' Some day I want to show you the laboratory,'*
Craig was saying.
"It must be so — interesting!" exclaimed Elaine
enthusiastically. '' Think of all the bad men you must
have caught ! "
*^ I have quite a collection of stuff here at our
rooms," remarked Craig, '' almost a museum. Still,"
he ventured, '' I can't promise that the place is in
order," he laughed.
Elaine hesitated. " Would you like to see it? " she
wheedled of Aunt Josephine.
Aunt Josephine nodded acquiescence, and a mo-
ment later we all entered the building.
" You — you are very careful since that last warn-
ing?" asked Elaine as we approached our door.
*' More than ever — now," replied Craig. " I have
made up my mind to win."
She seemed to catch at the words as though they
had a hidden meaning, looking first at him and then
away, not displeased.
Kennedy had started to unlock the door, when he
*' See," he said, " this is a precaution I have just in-
stalled. I almost forgot in the excitement."
" THE FROZEN SAFE " 75
He pressed a panel and disclosed the box-like ap-
** This is my seismograph which tells me whether
I have had any visitors in my absence. If the pen
traces a straight line, it is all right ; but if — hello —
Walter, the line is wavy."
We exchanged a significant glance.
" Would you mind — er — standing down the hall
just a bit while I enter?" asked Craig.
'' Be careful," cautioned Elaine.
He unlocked the door, standing off to one side.
Then he extended his hand across the doorway. Still
nothing happened. There was not a sound. He
looked cautiously into the room. Apparently there
It had been about the middle of the morning that an
express wagon had pulled up sharply before our apart-
*' Mr. Kennedy live here?" asked one of the ex-
pressmen, descending with his helper and approaching
our janitor, Jens Jensen, a typical Swede, who was
coming up out of the basement.
Jens growled a surly, '* Yes — but Mr. Kannady^
he bane out."
*^ Too bad — we've got this large cabinet he or-
dered from Grand Rapids. We can't cart it around
all day. Can't you let us in so we can leave it ? "
Jensen muttered. "Wall — I guess it bane all
They took the cabinet off the wagon and carried
it upstairs. Jensen opened our door, still grumbling.
76 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
and they placed the heavy cabinet in the living room.
" Sign here."
'' You fallers bane a nuisance," protested Jens, sign-
Scarcely had the sound of their footfalls died away
in the outside hallway when the door of the cabinet
slowly opened and a masked face protruded, gazing
about the room.
It was the Clutching Hand !
From the cabinet he took a large package wrapped
in newspapers. As he held it, looking keenly about,
his eye rested on Elaine's picture. A moment he
looked at it, then quickly at the fireplace opposite.
An idea seemed to occur to him. He took the
package to the fireplace, removed the screen, and laid
the package over the andirons with one end pointing
out into the room.
Next he took from the cabinet a couple of storage
batteries and a coil of wire. Deftly and quickly he
fixed them on the package.
Meanwhile, before an alleyway across the street and
further down the long block the express wagon had
stopped. The driver and his helper clambered out and
for a moment stood talking in low tones, with covert
glances at our apartment. They moved into the alley
and the driver drew out a battered pair of opera
glasses, levelling them at our windows.
Having completed fixing the batteries and wires,
Clutching Hand ran the wires along the moulding on
the wall overhead, from the fireplace until he was
directly over Elaine's picture. Skillfully, he man-
aged to fix the wires, using them in place of the pic-
ture wires to support the framed photograph. Then
" THE FROZEN SAFE " yj
he carefully moved the photograph until it hung very
noticeably askew on the wall.
The last wire joined, he looked about the room, then
noiselessly moved to the window and raised the shade.
Quickly he raised his hand and brought the fingers
slowly together. It was the sign.
Oflf in the alley, the express driver and his helper
were still gazing up through the opera glass.
" What d'ye see. Bill ? " he asked, handing over the
The other took it and looked. " It's him — the
Hand, Jack," whispered the helper, handing the
They jumped into the wagon and away it rattled.
Jensen was smoking placidly as the wagon pulled
up the second time.
*' Sorry," said the driver sheepishly, '' but we de-
livered the cabinet to the wrong Mr. Kennedy."
He pulled out the inevitable book to prove it.
" Wall, you bane fine fallers," growled Jensen,
puffing like a furnace, in his fury. " You cannot go
'' We'll get fired for the mistake," pleaded the
'' Just this once," urged the driver, as he rattled
some loose change in his pocket. '' Here — there goes
a whole day's tips."
He handed Jens a dollar in small change.
Still grumpy but mollified by the silver Jens let
them go up and opened the door to our rooms again.
There stood the cabinet, as outwardly innocent as
when it came in.
Lugging and tugging they managed to get the heavy
78 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
piece of furniture out and downstairs again, loading
it on the wagon. Then they drove off with it, ac-
companied by a parting volley from Jensen.
In an unfrequented street, perhaps half a mile away,
the wagon stopped. With a keen glance around, the
driver and his helper made sure that no one was about.
" Such a shaking up as you've given me ! " growled
a voice as the cabinet door opened. " But IVe got
him this time ! "
It was the Clutching Hand.
" There, men, you can leave me here," he ordered.
He motioned to them to drive off and, as they did
so, pulled off his masking handkerchief and dived into
a narrow street leading up to a thoroughfare.
Craig gazed into our living room cautiously.
" I can't see anything wrong," he said to me as I
stood just beside him. '^ Miss Dodge," he added,
"will you and the rest excuse me if I ask you to
wait just a moment longer?"
Elaine watched him, fascinated. He crossed the
room, then went into each of our other rooms. Ap-
parently nothing was wrong and a minute later he
reappeared at the doorway.
" I guess it's all right," he said. " Perhaps it was
only Jensen, the janitor."
Elaine, Aunt Josephine and Susie Martin entered.
Craig placed chairs for them, but still I could see that
he was uneasy. From time to time, while they were
admiring one of our treasures after another, he
glanced about suspiciously. Finally he moved over
to a closet and flung the door open, ready for any-
" THE FROZEN SAFE " 79
thing. Xo one was in the closet and he closed it
'' What is the trouble, do you think? " asked Elaine
wonderingly, noticing his manner.
"I — I can't just say/' answered Craig, trying to
She had risen and with keen interest was looking
at the books, the pictures, the queer collection of
weapons and odds and ends from the underworld
that Craig had amassed in his adventures.
At last her eye wandered across the room. She
caught sight of her own picture, occupying a place of
honor — but hanging askew.
" Isn't that just like a man ! " she exclaimed laugh-
ingly. '* Such housekeepers as you are — such care-
lessness ! "
She had taken a step or two across the room to
straighten the picture.
** Miss Dodge I " almost shouted Kennedy, his face
fairly blanched, '' Stop ! "
She turned, her stunning eyes filled with amazement
at his suddenness. Xevertheless she moved quickly to
one side, as he waved his arms, unable to speak quickly
Kennedy stood quite still, gazing at the picture,
askew, with suspicion.
'^ That wasn't that way when we left, was it, Wal-
ter?" he asked.
" It certainly was not," I answered positively,
" There w^as more time spent in getting that picture
just right than I ever saw you spend on all the rest
of the room."
8o THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
As for myself, I did not know what to make of it.
" I'm afraid I shall have to ask you to step into this
back room/' said Craig at length to the ladies. '^ Fm
sorry — but we can't be too careful with this intruder,
whoever he was."
They rose, surprised, but, as he continued to urge
them, they moved into my room.
Elaine, however, stopped at the door.
For a moment Kennedy appeared to be considering.
Then his eye fell on a fishing rod that stood in a
corner. He took it and moved toward the picture.
On his hands and knees, to one side, down as close
as he could get to the floor, with the rod extended at
arm's length, he motioned to me to do the same, be-
Elaine, unable to repress her interest took a half
step forward, breathless, from the doorway, while
Susie Martin and Aunt Josephine stood close behind
Carefully Kennedy reached out with the pole and
straightened the picture.
As he did so there was a flash, a loud, deafening re-
port, and a great puff of smoke from the fireplace.
The fire screen was riddled and overturned. A
charge of buckshot shattered the precious photograph
We had dropped flat on the floor at the report. I
looked about. Kennedy was unharmed, and so were
With a bound he was at the fireplace, followed by
Elaine and the rest of us. There, in what remained
of a package done up roughly in newspaper, was a
shot gun with its barrel sawed off about six inches
" THE FROZEN SAFE " 8l
from the lock, fastened to a block of wood, and con-
nected to a series of springs on the trigger, released
by a little electromagnetic arrangement actuated by
two batteries and leading by wires up along the mould-
ing to the picture where the slightest touch would
complete the circuit.
The newspapers which were wrapped about the
deadly thing were burning, and Kennedy quickly tore
them off, throwing them into the fireplace.
A startled cry from Elaine caused us to turn.
She was standing directly before her shattered pic-
ture where it hung awry on the wall. The heavy
charges of buckshot had knocked away large pieces of
paper and plaster under it.
*' Craig!" she gasped.
He was at her side in a second.
She laid one hand on his arm, as she faced him.
With the other she traced an imaginary line in the
air from the level of the buckshot to his head and
then straight to the infernal thing that had lain in the
'* And to think/' she shuddered, " that it was
through me that he tried to kill you ! "
" Never mind," laughed Craig easily, as they gazed
into each other's eyes, drawn together by their mutual
peril, " Clutching Hand will have to be cleverer than
this to get either of us — Elaine ! "
82 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
CHAPTER V ^
THE POISONED ROOM
Elaine and Craig were much together during the
next few days.
Somehow or other, it seemed that the chase of the
Clutching Hand involved long conferences in the
Dodge library and even, in fact, extended to excur-
sions into that notoriously crime-infested neighbor-
hood of Riverside Drive with its fashionable proces-
sions of automobiles and go-carts — as far north, in-
deed, as that desperate haunt known as Grant's Tomb.
More than that, these delvings into the underworld
involved Kennedy in the necessity of wearing a frock
coat and silk hat in the afternoon, and I found that
he was selecting his neckwear with a care that had
been utterly foreign to him during all the years previ-
ous that I had known him.
It all looked very suspicious to me.
But, to return to the more serious side of the affair.
Kennedy and Elaine had scarcely come out of the
house and descended the steps, one afternoon, when
a sinister face appeared in a basement areaway nearby.
The figure was crouched over, with his back humped
up almost as if deformed, and his left hand had an
It was the Clutching Hand.
He wore a telephone inspector's hat and coat and
carried a bag slung by a strap over his shoulder. For
once he had left off his mask, but, in place of it, his
face was covered by a scraggly black beard. In fact,
he seemed to avoid turning his face full, three-quar-
THE POISONED ROOM 83
ters or even profile to anyone, unless he had to do so.
As much as possible he averted it, but he did so in a
clever way that made it seem quite natural. The dis-
guise was effective.
He saw Kennedy and Miss Dodge and slunk un-
obtrusively against a railing, with his head turned
away. Laughing and chatting, they passed. As they
walked down the street. Clutching Hand turned and
gazed after them. Involuntarily the menacing hand
clutched in open hatred.
Then he turned in the other direction and, going up
the steps of the Dodge house, rang the bell.
'' Telephone inspector," he said in a loud tone as
Michael, in Jennings* place for the afternoon, opened
He accompanied the words with the sign and
Michael, taking care that the words be heard, in case
anyone was listening, admitted him.
As it happened. Aunt Josephine was upstairs in
Elaine's room. She was fixing flowers in a vase on
the dressing table of her idolized niece. Meanwhile,
Rusty, the collie, lay, half blinking, on the floor.
" Who is this? " she asked, as Michael led the bogus
telephone inspector into the room.
*' A man from the telephone company," he answered
Aunt Josephine, unsophisticated, allowed them to
enter without a further question.
Quickly, like a good workman, Clutching Hand
went to the telephone instrument and by dint of keep-
ing his finger on the hook and his back to Aunt
Josephine succeeded in conveying the illusion that he
was examining it.
84 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
Aunt Josephine moved to the door. Xot so, Rusty.
He did not Hke the looks of the stranger and he had no
scruples against letting it be known.
xA.s she put her hand oh the knob to go out into the
hall, Rusty uttered a low growl which grew into a
full-lunged snarl at the Clutching Hand. Clutching
Hand kicked at him vigorously, if surreptitiously.
" Lady,'' he disguised his voice, " will yer please ter
call off the dog? ]\Ie and him don't seem to cotton
to each other."
'' Here, Rusty," she commanded, ''' down ! "
Together Aunt Josephine and Michael removed the
still protesting Rusty.
Xo sooner was the door shut than the Clutching
Hand moved over swiftly to it. For a few seconds,
he stood gazing at them as they disappeared down-
stairs. Then he came back into the center of the
Hastily he opened his bag and from it drew a small
powder-spraying outfit such as I have seen used for
spraying bug-powder. He then took out a sort of
muzzle with an elastic band on it and slipped it over
his head so that the muzzle protected his nose and
He seemed to work a sort of pumping attachment
and from the nozzle of the spraying instrument blew
out a cloud of powder which he directed at the wall.
The wall paper was one of those rich, fuzzy varieties
and it seemed to catch the powder. Clutching Hand
appeared to be more than satisfied wath the effect.
]\Ieanwhile, Michael, in the hallway, on guard to see
that no one bothered the Clutching Hand at his work,
THE POISONED ROOM 85
was overcome by curiosity to see what his master was
doing. He opened the door a httle bit and gazed
stealthily through the crack into the room.
Clutching Hand was now spraying the rug close to
the dressing table of Elaine and was standing near
the mirror. He stooped down to examine the rug.
Then, as he raised his head, he happened to look into
the mirror. In it he could see the full reflection of
Michael behind him, gazing into the room.
*' The scoundrel ! '' muttered Clutching Hand, with
repressed fury at the discovery.
He rose quickly and shut off the spraying instru-
ment, stuffing it into the bag. He took a step or two
toward the door. ]\Iichael drew back, fearfully, pre-
tending now to be on guard.
Clutching Hand opened the door and, still wearing
the muzzle, beckoned to ]\Iichael. ^Michael could
scarcely control his fears. But he obeyed, entering
Elaine's room after the Clutching Hand, who locked
'' Were you watching me ? " demanded the master
criminal, with rage.
^lichael, trembling all over, shook his head. For
a moment Clutching Hand looked him over disdain-
fully at the clumsy lie.
Then he brutally struck Michael in the face, knock-
ing him down. An ungovernable, almost insane fury
seemed to possess the man as he stood over the pros-
trate footman, cursing.
'' Get up ! " he ordered.
Michael obeyed, thoroughly cowed.
*^ Take me to the cellar, now,'' he demanded.
86 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
Michael led the way from the room without a pro-
test, the master criminal following him closely.
Down into the cellar, by a back way, they went,
Clutching Hand still wearing his muzzle and Michael
saying not a word.
Suddenly Clutching Hand turned on him and seized
him by the collar.
'' Now, go upstairs, you," he muttered, shaking him
until his teeth fairly chattered, " and if you watch me
again — Til kill you ! "
He thrust Michael away and the footman, over-
come by fear, hurried upstairs. Still trembling and
fearful, Michael paused in the hallway, looking back
resentfully, for even one who is in the power of a
super-criminal is still human and has feelings that may
Michael put his hand on his face where the Clutch-
ing Hand had struck him. There he waited, mutter-
ing to himself. As he thought it over, anger took
the place of fear. He slowly turned in the direction
of the cellar. Closing both his fists, Michael made a
threatening gesture at his master in crime.
Aleanwhile, Clutching Hand was standing by the
electric meter. He examined it carefully, feeling
where the wires entered and left it starting to trace
them out. At last he came to a point where it seemed
suitable to make a connection for some purpose he
had in mind.
Quickly he took some wire from his bag and con-
nected it with the electric light wires. Next, he led
these wires, concealed of course, along the cellar
floor, in the direction of the furnace.
The furnace was one of the old hot air heaters and
THE POISONED ROOM 87
he paused before it as though seeking something.
Then he bent down beside it and uncovered, a Httle
tank. He took off the top on which were cast in the
iron the words:
'' This tank must be kept full of water."
He thrust his hand gingerly into it, bringing it out
quickly. The tank was nearly full of water and he
brought his hand out wet. It was also hot. But he
did not seem to mind that, for he shook his head with
a smile of satisfaction.
Next, from his capacious bag he took two metal
poles, or electrodes, and fastened them carefully to
the ends of the wires, placing them' at opposite ends
of the tank in the water.
For several moments he watched. The water in-
side the tank seemed the same as before, only on each
electrode there appeared bubbles, on one bubbles of
oxygen, on the other of hydrogen. The water was
decomposing under the current by electrolysis.
Another moment he surveyed his work to see that
he had left no loose ends. Then he picked up his bag
and moved toward the cellar steps. As he did so, he
removed the muzzle from his nose and quietly let him-
self out of the house.
The next morning. Rusty, who had been Elaine's
constant companion since the trouble had begun,
awakened his mistress by licking her hand as it hung
limply over the side of her bed.
She awakened with a start and put her hand to her
head. She felt ill.
88 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
" Poor old fellow," she murmured, half dazedly,
for the moment endowing her pet with her own feel-
ings, as she patted his faithful shaggy head.
Rusty moved away again, wagging his tail listlessly.
The collie, too, felt ill. Elaine watched him as he
walked, dejected, across the room and then lay down.
''Why, Miss Elaine — what ees ze mattair? You
are so pale ! " exclaimed the maid, Marie, as she en-
tered the room a moment later with the morning's
mail on a salver.
'' I don't feel well, Marie," she replied, trying with
her slender white hand to brush the cobwebs from
her brain. ''I — I wish you'd tell Aunt Josephine to
telephone Dr. Hayward."
" Yes, mademoiselle," answered Marie, deftly and
sympathetically straightening out the pillows.
Languidly Elaine took the letters one by one off the
salver. She looked at them, but seemed not to have
energy enough to open them.
Finally she selected one and slowly tore it open.
It had no superscription, but it at once arrested her at-
tention and transfixed her with terror.
It read :
^' You ARE SICK THIS MORNING. TOMORROW YOU
WILL BE WORSE. ThE NEXT DAY YOU WILL DIE UNLESS
YOU DISCHARGE CrAIG KeNNEDY."
It was signed by the mystic trademark of the fear-
some Clutching Hand!
Elaine drew back into the pillows, horror stricken.
Quickly she called to Marie. '* Go — get Aunt
Josephine — right away ! "
THE POISONED ROOM 89
As Marie almost flew down the hall, Elaine still
holding the letter convulsively, pulled herself together
and got up, trembling. She almost seized the tele-
phone as she called Kennedy's number.
Kennedy, in his stained laboratory apron, was at
work before his table, while I was watching him with
intense interest, when the telephone rang.
Without a word he answered the call and I could
see a look of perturbation cross his face. I knew it
was from Elaine, but could tell nothing about the na-
ture of the message.
An instant later he almost tore off the apron and
threw on his hat and coat. I followed him as he
dashed out of the laboratory.
*' This is terrible — terrible," he muttered, as we
hurried across the campus of the University to a taxi-
A few minutes later, when we arrived at the Dodge
mansion, we found Aunt Josephine and Marie doing
all they could under the circumstances. Aunt
Josephine had just given her a glass of water which
she drank eagerly. Rusty had, meanwhile, crawled
under the bed, caring only to be alone and undisturbed.
Dr. Hay ward had arrived and had just finished tak-
ing her pulse and temperature as our cab pulled up.
Jennings who had evidently been expecting us let
us in without a word and conducted us up to Elaine's
room. We knocked.
" Mr. Kennedy and Mr. Jameson," we could hear
Marie whisper in a subdued voice.
*' Tell them to come in," answered Elaine eagerly.
We entered. There she lay, beautiful as ever, but
90 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
with a whiteness of her fresh cheek that was too
etherially unnatural. Elaine was quite ill indeed.
'' Oh — I'm so glad to see you," she breathed, with
an air of relief as Kennedy advanced.
''Why — what is the matter?" asked Craig, anxi-
Dr. Hayward shook his head dubiously, but
Kennedy did not notice him, for, as he approached
Elaine, she drew from the covers where she had con-
cealed it a letter and handed it to him.
Craig took it and read :
*'Y0U ARE SICK THIS MORNING. TOMORROW YOU
WILL BE WORSE. ThE NEXT DAY YOU WILL DIE UNLESS
YOU DISCHARGE CrAIG KENNEDY."
At the signature of the Qutching Hand he frowned,
then, noticing Dr. Hayward, turned to him and re-
peated his question, "♦WTiat is the matter?"
Dr. Hayward continued shaking his head. " I can-
not diagnose her symptoms," he shrugged.
As I watched Kennedy's face, I saw his nostrils
dilating, almost as if he were a hound and had
scented his quarry. I sniffed, too. There seemed to
be a faint odor, almost as if of garlic, in the room.
It was unmistakable and Craig looked about him
curiously but said nothing.
As he sniffed, he moved impatiently and his foot
touched Rusty, under the bed. Rusty whined and
moved back lazily. Craig bent over and looked at
''What's the matter with Rusty?" he asked. "Is
he sick, too ? "
THE POISONED ROOM 91
" Why — yes/' answered Elaine, following Craig
with her deep eyes. '' Poor Rusty. He woke me up
this morning. He feels as badly as I do, poor old
Craig reached down and gently pulled the collie
out into the room. Rusty crouched down close to the
floor. His nose was hot and dry and feverish. He
was plainly ill.
*' How long has Rusty been in the room ? " asked
" All night," answered Elaine. '' I wouldn't think
of being without him now."
Kennedy lifted the dog by his front paws. Rusty
submitted patiently, but without any spirit.
" May I take Rusty along with me ? " he asked
Elaine hesitated. '' Surely," she said at length,
" only, be gentle with him."
Craig looked at her as though it would be impossible
to be otherwise with anything belonging to Elaine.
*^ Of course," he said simply. '* I thought that I
might be able to discover the trouble from studying
We stayed only a few minutes longer, for Kennedy
seemed to realize the necessity of doing something
immediately and even Dr. Hayward was fighting in the
dark. As for me, I gave it up, too. I could find no
answer to the mystery of what was the peculiar malady
Back in the laboratory, Kennedy set to work im-
mediately, brushing everything else aside. He be-
gan by drawing off a little of Rusty 's blood in a tube,
92 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
" Here, Walter/' he said pointing to the little in-
cision he had made. *' Will you take care of him?"
I bound up the wounded leg and gave the poor
beast a drink of water. Rusty looked at me grate-
fully from his big sad brown eyes. He seemed to
appreciate our gentleness and to realize that we were
trying to help him.
In the meantime, Craig had taken a flask with a
rubber stopper. Through one hole in it was fitted a
long funnel; through another ran a glass tube. The
tube connected with a large U-shaped drying tube filled
with calcium chloride, which, in turn, connected with
a long open tube with an upturned end.
Into the flask, Craig dropped some pure granulated
zinc. Then he covered it with dilute sulphuric acid,
poured in through the funnel tube.
" That forms hydrogen gas," he explained to me,
^^ which passes through the drying tube and the igni-
tion tube. Wait a moment until all the air is ex-
pelled from the tubes."
He lighted a match and touched it to the open, up-
turned end. The hydrogen, now escaping freely, was
ignited with a pale blue flame.
A few moments later, having extracted something
like a serum from the blood he had drawn oflf from
Rusty. He added the extract to the mixture in the
flask, pouring it in, also through the funnel tube.
Almost immediately the pale, bluish flame turned
to bluish white, and white fumes were formed. In
the ignition tube a sort of metallic deposit appeared.
Quickly Craig made one test after another.
As he did so, I sniffed. There was an unmistak-
THE POISONED ROOM 93
able odor of garlic in the air which made me think of
what I had already noticed in Elaine's room.
" What is it ? '' I asked, mystified.
*' Arseniuretted hydrogen/' he answered, still en-
gaged in verifying his tests. '* This is the Marsh test
I gazed from Kennedy to the apparatus, then to
Rusty and a picture of Elaine, pale and listless, flashed
** Arsenic ! " I repeated in horror.
I had scarcely recovered from the surprise o^
Kennedy's startling revelation when the telephone
rang again. Kennedy seized the receiver, thinking evi-
dently that the message might be from or about Elaine.
But from the look on his face and from his man-
ner, I could gather that, although it was not from
Elaine herself, it was about something that interested
him greatly. As he talked, he took his little notebook
and hastily jotted down something in it. Still, I could
not make out what the conversation was about.
" Good ! " I heard him say finally. " I shall keep
the appointment — absolutely."
His face wore a peculiar puzzled look as he hung
up the receiver.
" What was it ? " I asked eagerly.
*' It was Elaine's footman, Michael," he replied
thoughtfully. *' As I suspected, he says that he is a
confederate of the Clutching Hand and if we will
protect him he will tell us the trouble with Elaine."
I considered a moment. " How's that ? " I queried.
*' Well," added Craig, '' you see, IMichael has be-
come infuriated by the treatment he received from
94 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
the Clutching Hand. I believe he cuffed him in the
face yesterday. Anyway, he says he has determined
to get even and betray him. So, after hearing how
Elaine was, he slipped out of the servant's door and
looking about carefully to see that he wasn't followed,
he went straight to a drug store and called me up.
He seemed extremely nervous and fearful."
I did not like the looks of the thing, and said so.
*' Craig," I objected vehemently, '' don't go to meet
him. It. is a trap."
Kennedy had evidently considered my objection al-
** It may be a trap," he replied slowly, *' but Elaine
is dying and we've got to see this thing through."
As he spoke, he took an automatic from a drawer of
a cabinet and thrust it into his pocket. Then he went
to another drawer and took out several sections of
thin tubing which seemed to be made to fasten together
as a fishing pole is fastened, but were now separate, as
if ready for travelling.
*' Well — are you coming, Walter?" he asked
finally — the only answer to my flood of caution.
Then he went out. I followed, still arguing.
*' If you go, / go," I capitulated. *' That's all there
is to it."
Following the directions that Michael had given
over the telephone Craig led me into one of the tough-
est parts of the lower West Side.
'' Here's the place," he announced, stopping across
the street from a dingy Raines Law Hotel.
" Pretty tough," I objected. " Are you sure? "
" Quite," replied Kennedy, consulting his note book
THE POISONED ROOM 95
'' Well, I'll be hanged if I'll go in that joint/' I per-
It had no effect on Kennedy. '* Nonsense, Walter,"
he replied, crossing the street.
Reluctantly I followed and we entered the place.
'' I want a room," asked Craig as we were accosted
by the proprietor, comfortably clad in a loud checked
suit and striped shirt sleeves. " I had one here once
before — forty-nine, I think."
" Fifty — " I began to correct.
Kennedy trod hard on my toes.
'' Yes, forty-nine," he repeated.
The proprietor called a stout negro porter, waiter,
and bell-hop all combined in one, who led us upstairs.
" Fohty-nine, sah," he pointed out, as Kennedy
dropped a dime into his ready palm.
The negro left us and as Craig started to enter, I
objected, '' But, Craig, it was fifty-nine, not forty-nine.
This is the wrong room."
'' I know it," he replied. '' I had it written in the
book. But I want forty-nine — now. Just follow me,
Nervously I followed him into the room.
" Don't you understand ? " he went on. '' Room
forty-nine is probably just the same as fifty-nine, ex-
cept perhaps the pictures and furniture, only it is on
the floor below."
He gazed about keenly. Then he took a few steps
to the window and threw it open. As he stood there
he took the parts of the rods he had been carr\^ing and
fitted them together until he had a pole some eight
or ten feet long. At one end was a curious arrange-
ment that seemed to contain lenses and a mirror. At
96 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
the other end was an eye-piece, as nearly as I could
" What is that ? " I asked as he completed his work.
*' That ? That is an instrument something on the or-
der of a miniature submarine periscope," Craig re-
plied, still at work.
I watched him, fascinated at his resourcefulness.
He stealthily thrust the mirror end of the periscope
out of the window and up toward the corresponding
window up stairs. Then he gazed eagerly through the
*' Walter — look ! " he exclaimed to me.
I did. There, sure enough, was Michael, pacing up
and down the room. He had already preceded us.
In his scared and stealthy manner, he had entered the
Raines Law hotel which announced '' Furnished
Rooms for Gentlemen Only." There he had sought
a room, fifty-nine, as he had said.
As he came into the room, he had looked about, over-
come by the enormity of what he was about to do.
He locked the door. Still, he had not been able to
avoid gazing about fearfully, as he was doing now that
we saw him.
Nothing had happened. Yet he brushed his hand
over his forehead and breathed a sigh of relief. The
air seemed to be stifling him and already he had gone
to the window and thrown it open. Then he had
gazed out as though there might be some unknown
peril in the very air. He had now drawn back from
the window and was considering. He was actually
trembling. Should he flee? He whistled softly to
himself to keep his shaking fears under control.
THE POISONED ROOM 97
Then he started to pace up and down the room in
nervous impatience and irresolution.
As I looked at him nerv^ously walking to and fro,
I could not help admitting that things looked safe
enough and all right to me. Kennedy folded the peri-
scope up and we left our room, mounting the remain-
ing flight of stairs.
In fifty-nine we could hear the measured step of
the footman. Craig knocked. The footsteps ceased.
Then the door opened slowly and I could see a cold
" Look out ! " I cried.
Michael in his fear had drawn a gun.
*^ It's all right, Michael," reassured Craig calmly.
'' All right, Walter,'' he added to me.
The gun dropped back into the footman's pocket.
We entered and Michael again locked the door. Not
a word had been spoken by him so far.
Next ]\Iichael moved to the center of the room and,
as I realized later, brought himself in direct lines with
the open window. He seemed to be overcome with
fear at his betrayal and stood there breathing heavily.
'' Professor Kennedy," he began, '' I have been so
mistreated that I have made up my mind to tell you all
I know about this Clutching — "
Suddenly he drew a sharp breath and both his hands
clutched at his own breast. He did not stagger and
fall in the ordinary manner, but seemed to bend at
the knees and waist and literally crumple down on his
We ran to him. Craig turned him over gently on
his back and examined him. He called. No answer.
Michael was almost pulseless.
98 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
Quickly Craig tore oflf his collar and bared his
breast, for the man seemed to be struggling for
breath. As he did so, he drew from Michael's chest
a small, sharp-pointed dart.
''What's that?'' I ejaculated, horror stricken.
" A poisoned blow gun dart such as is used by tho
South American Indians on the upper Orinoco," he
He examined it carefully.
" What is the poison ? " I asked.
" Curari," he repHed simply. " It acts on the re-
spiratory muscles, paralyzing them, and causing
The dart seemed to have been made of a quill with
a very sharp point, hollow, and containing the deadly
poison in the sharpened end.
'' Look out ! " I cautioned as he handled it.
" Oh, that's all right," he answered casually. "If
I don't scratch myself, I am safe enough. I could
swallow the stuff and it wouldn't hurt me — unless I
had an abrasion of the lips or some internal cut."
Kennedy continued to examine the dart until sud-
denly I heard a low exclamation of surprise from him.
Inside the hollow quill was a thin sheet of tissue paper,
tightly rolled. He drew it out and read :
*' To know me is death
Kennedy — Take Warning ! "
Underneath was the inevitable Clutching Hand sign.
We jumped to our feet. Kennedy rushed to the
window and slammed it shut, while I seized the key
from Michael's pocket, opened the door and called
THE POISONED ROOM 99
A moment before, on the roof of a building across
the street, one might have seen a bent, skulking figure.
His face was copper colored and on his head was a
thick thatch of matted hair. He looked like a South
American Indian, in a very dilapidated suit of cast-
ofif American clothes.
He had slipped out through a doorway leading to a
flight of steps from the roof to the hallway of the
tenement. His fatal dart sent on its unerring mission
with a precision born of long years in the South
American jungle, he concealed the deadly blow-gun in
his breast pocket, with a cruel smile, and, like one of
his native venomous serpents, wormed his way down
the stairs again.
My outcry brought a veritable battalion of aid.
The hotel proprietor, the negro waiter, and several
others dashed upstairs, followed shortly by a portly
policeman, puffing at the exertion.
" What's the matter, here ? " he panted. '' Ye're all
under arrest ! "
Kennedy quietly pulled out his card case and taking
the policeman aside showed it to him.
" We had an appointment to meet this man — in
that Clutching Hand case, you know. He is Miss
Dodge's footman," Craig explained.
Then he took the policeman into his confidence,
showing him the dart and explaining about the poison.
The officer stared blankly.
" I must get away, too," hurried on Craig.
*' Officer, I will leave you to take charge here. You
can depend on me for the inquest."
The officer nodded.
loo THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
" Come on, Walter," whispered Craig, eager to get
away, then adding the one word, '' Elaine ! ''
I followed hastily, not slow to understand his fear
Nor were Craig's fears groundless. In spite of all
that could be done for her, Elaine was still in bed,
much weaker now than before. While we had been
gone. Dr. Hayward, Aunt Josephine and Marie were
More than that, the Clutching Hand had not neg-
lected the opportunity, either.
Suddenly, just before our return, a stone had come
hurtling through the window, without warning of any
kind, and had landed on Elaine's bed.
Below, as we learned some time afterwards, a car
had drawn up hastily and the evil-faced crook whom
the Clutching Hand had used to rid himself of the
informer, " Limpy Red," had leaped out and hurled
the stone through the window, as quickly leaping back
into the car and whisking away.
Elaine had screamed. All had reached for the
stone. But she had been the first to seize it and dis-
cover that around it was wrapped a piece of paper on
which was the ominous warning, signed as usual by
the Hand :
" Michael is dead.
Stop before it is too late."
Elaine had sunk back into her pillows, paler than
ever from this second shock, while the others, as they
THE POISONED ROOM loi
read the note, were overcome by alarm and despair, at
the suddenness of the thing.
It was just then that Kennedy and I arrived and
" Oh, Mr. Kennedy," cried Elaine, handing him the
Craig took it and read. '^ Miss Dodge," he said, as
he held the note out to me, " you are suffering from
arsenic poisoning — but I don't know yet how it is be-
He gazed about keenly. Meanwhile, I had taken
the crumpled note from him and was reading it.
Somehow, I had leaned against the wall. As I turned,
Craig happened to glance at me.
'' For heaven's sake, Walter," I heard him exclaim,
^* What have you been up against ? "
He fairly leaped at me and I felt him examining
my shoulder where I had been leaning on the wall.
Something on the paper had come off and had left a
w^hite mark on my shoulder. Craig looked puzzled
from me to the wall.
*' Arsenic ! " he cried.
He whipped out a pocket lens and looked at the
paper. ^' This heavy fuzzy paper is fairly loaded with
it, powdered," he reported.
I looked, too. The powdered arsenic was plainly
discernible. *' Yes, here it is," he continued, stand-
ing absorbed in thought. " But why did it work so
effectively ? "
He sniffed as he had before. So did I. There was
still the faint smell of garlic. Kennedy paced the
room. Suddenly, pausing by the register, an idea
seemed to strike him.
102 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
" Walter/' he whispered, '' come down cellar with
" Oh — be careful," cried Elaine, anxious for him.
" I will," he called back.
As he flashed his pocket electric bull's-eye about, his
gaze fell on the electric meter. He paused before it.
In spite of the fact that it was broad daylight, it was
running. His face puckered.
*' They are using no current at present in the house,"
he ruminated. " Yet the meter is running."
He continued to examine the meter. Then he be-
gan to follow the electric wires along. At last he dis-
covered a place where they had been tampered with
and tapped by other wires.
" The work of the Clutching Hand ! " he muttered.
Eagerly he followed the wires to the furnace and
around to the back. There they led right into a little
water tank. Kennedy yanked them out. As he did
so he pulled something with them.
" Two electrodes — the villain placed there," he
exclaimed, holding them up triumphantly for me to see.
" Y-yes," I replied dubiously, " but what does it all
mean ? "
" Why, don't you see? Under the influence of the
electric current the water was decomposed and gave
off oxygen and hydrogen. The free hydrogen passed
up the furnace pipe and combining with the arsenic
in the wall paper formed the deadly arseniuretted
He cast the whole improvised electrolysis apparatus
on the floor and dashed up the cellar steps.
" I've found it ! " he cried, hurrying into Elaine's
THE POISONED ROOM 103
room. '^ It's in this room — a deadly gas — ar-
He tore open the windows and threw them all open.
'' Have her moved," he cried to Aunt Josephine.
'' Then have a vacuum cleaner go over every inch of
wall, carpet and upholstery."
Standing beside her, he breathlessly explained his
discovery. '' That wall paper has been loaded down
with arsenic, probably Paris green or Schweinfurth
green, which is aceto-arsenite of copper. Every min-
ute you are here, you are breathing arseniuretted hy-
drogen. The Clutching Hand has cleverly contrived
to introduce the nascent gas into the room. That acts
on the arsenic compounds in the wall paper and hang-
ings and sets free the gas. I thought I knew the
smell the moment I got a whiff of it. You are slowly
being poisoned by minute quantities of the deadly gas.
This Clutching Hand is a diabolical genius. Think of
it — poisoned wall paper ! "
No one said a word. Kennedy reached down and
took the two Clutching Hand messages Elaine had re-
ceived. " I shall want to study these notes, more^
too," he said, holding them up to the wall at the head
of the bed as he flashed his pocket lens at them.
'' You see, Elaine, I may be able to get something
from studying the ink, the paper, the handwriting — "
Suddenly both leaped back, with a cry.
Their faces had been several inches apart. Some-
thing had whizzed between them and literally impaled
the two notes on the wall.
Down the street, on the roof of a carriage house,
back of a neighbor's, might have been seen the un-
couth figure of the dilapidated South American In-
I04 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
dian crouching behind a chimney and gazing intently
at the Dodge house.
As Craig had thrown open Elaine's window and
turned to Elaine, the figure had crouched closer to his
Then with an uncanny determination he slowly
raised the blow-gun to his lips.
I jumped forward, followed by Dr. Hayward, Aunt
Josephine, and Marie. Kennedy had a peculiar look
as he pulled out from the wall a blow-gun dart similar
in every way to that which had killed Michael.
" Craig ! " gasped Elaine, reaching up and laying
her soft white hand on his arm in undisguised fear
for him, '' you — you must give up this chase for the
" Give up the chase for the Clutching Hand ? " he
repeated in surprise. " Never ! Not until either he
or I is dead ! "
There was both fear and admiration mingled in
her look, as he reached down and patted her dainty
Kennedy went the next day to the Dodge house, and,
as usual, Perry Bennett was there in the library with
Elaine, still going over the Clutching Hand case, in
their endeavor to track down the mysterious master
THE VAMPIRE ' 105
Bennett seemed as deeply as ever in love with
Elaine. Still, as Jennings admitted Craig, it was suffi-
ciently evident by the manner in which Elaine left
Bennett and ran to meet Craig that she had the high-
est regard for him.
" IVe brought you a little document that may in-
terest you," remarked Kennedy, reaching into his
pocket and pulling out an envelope.
Elaine tore it open and looked at the paper within.
" Oh, how thoughtful of you ! '' she exclaimed in sur-
It was a permit from the police made out in her
name allowing her to carry a revolver.
A moment later, Kennedy reached into his coat
pocket and produced a little automatic which he handed
** Thank you," she cried eagerly.
Elaine examined the gun with interest, then, raising
it, pointed it playfully at Bennett.
"Oh — no — no!" exclaimed Kennedy, taking her
arm quickly, and gently deflecting the weapon away.
" You mustn't think it is a toy. It explodes at a
mere touch of the trigger — when that safety ratchet
Bennett had realized the danger and had jumped
back, almost mechanically. As he did so, he bumped
into a suit of medieval armor standing by the wall,
knocking it over with a resounding crash.
*' I beg pardon," he ejaculated, '' Fm very sorry.
That was very awkward of me."
Jennings, who had been busy about the portieres at
the doorway, started to pick up the fallen knight.
Some of the pieces were broken, and the three gath-
io6 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
ered about as the butler tried to fit them together again
as best he could.
*^ Too bad, too bad/' apologized Bennett profusely.
" I really forgot how close I was to the thing."
" Oh, never mind/' returned Elaine, a little crest-
fallen, '* It is smashed all right — but it was my fault.
Jennings, send for someone to repair it."
She turned to Kennedy. " But I do wish you would
teach me how to use this thing," she added, touching
the automatic gingerly.
'' Gladly," he returned.
"Won't you join us, Mr. Bennett?" asked Elaine.
" No," the young lawyer smiled, '' I'm afraid I can't.
You see, I had an engagement with another client
and I'm already late."
He took his hat and coat and, with a reluctant fare-
well, moved toward the hallway.
A moment later Elaine and Craig followed, while
Jennings finished restoring the armor as nearly as
possible as it had been.
It was late that night that a masked figure suc-
ceeded in raising itself to the narrow ornamental ledge
under Elaine's bedroom window.
Elaine was a light sleeper and, besides. Rusty, her
faithful collie, now fully recovered from the poison,
was in her room.
Rusty growled and the sudden noise wakened her.
Startled, Elaine instantly thought of the automatic.
She reached under her pillow, keeping very quiet, and
drew forth the gun that Craig had given her. Stealth-
ily concealing her actions under the .covers, she levelled
THE VAMPIRE 107
the automatic at the figure silhouetted in her window
and fired three times.
The figure fell back.
Down in the street, below, the assistant of the
Clutching Hand who had waited while Taylor Dodge
was electrocuted, was waiting now as his confederate,
" Pitts Slim " — which indicated that he was both wiry
in stature and libellous in delegating his nativity —
made the attempt.
As Slim came tumbling down, having fallen back
from the window above, mortally wounded, the con-
federate lifted him up and carried him out of sight
Elaine, by this time, had turned on the lights and
had run to the window to look out. Rusty was bark-
In a side street, nearby, stood a waiting automobile,
at the wheel of which sat another of the emissaries of
the Clutching Hand. The driver looked up, startled, as
he saw his fellow hurry around the corner carrying
the wounded Pitts Slim. It was the work of just a
moment to drop the wounded man, as comfortably as
possible under the circumstances, in the rear seat, while
his pals started the car ofif with a jerk in the hurry
Jennings, having hastily slipped his trousers on over
his pajamas came running down the hall, while Marie,
frightened, came in the other direction. Aunt Joseph-
ine appeared a few seconds later, adding to the gen-
" What's the matter? '' she asked, anxiously.
" A burglar, I think," exclaimed Elaine, still hold-
io8 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
ing the gun in her hand. '' Someone tried to get into
" My gracious," cried Aunt Josephine, in alarm,
'' where will this thing end ? "
Elaine was doing her best now to quiet the fears of
her aunt and the rest of the household.
" Well," she laughed, a little nervously, now that it
was all over, " I want you all to go to bed and stop
worrying about me. Don't you see, Fm perfectly able
to take care of myself ? Besides, there isn't a chance,
now, of the burglar coming back. Why, I shot him."
'' Yes," put in Aunt Josephine, " but — "
Elaine laughingly interrupted her and playfully
made as though she were driving them out of her
room, although they were all very much concerned over
the affair. However, they went finally, and she locked
" Rusty ! " she galled, " Down there ! "
The intelligent collie seemed to understand. He
lay down by the doorway, his nose close to the bottom
of the door and his ears alert.
Finally Elaine, too, retired again.
Meanwhile the wounded man was being hurried to
one of the hangouts of the mysterious Clutching Hand,
an old-fashioned house in the Westchester suburbs.
It was a carefully hidden place, back from the main
road, surrounded by trees, with a driveway leading up
The car containing the wounded Pitts Slim drew up
and the other two men leaped out of it. With a
hurried glance about, they unlocked the front door
with a pass-key and entered, carrying the man.
THE VAMPIRE 109
Indoors was another emissary of the Clutching
Hand, a rather studious looking chap.
'' Why, what's the matter ? " he exclaimed, as the
crooks entered his room, supporting their half-faint-
ing, wounded pal.
'' Slim got a couple of pills,'' they panted, as they
laid him on a couch.
'' How ? " demanded the other.
'' Trying to get into the Dodge house. Elaine did
Slim was, quite evidently, badly wounded and was
bleeding profusely. A glance at him was enough for
the studious-looking chap. He went to a secret panel
and, pressing it down, took out what was apparently
a house telephone.
In another part of this mysterious house was the
secret room of the Clutching Hand himself where he
hid his identity from even his most trusted followers.
It was a small room, lined with books on every con-
ceivable branch of science that might aid him and con-
taining innumerable little odds and ends of parapher-
nalia that might help in his nefarious criminal career.
His telephone rang and he took down the receiver.
" Pitts Slim's been wounded — badly — Chief," was
all he waited to hear.
With scarcely a word, he hung up the receiver, then
opened a table drawer and took out his masking hand-
kerchief. Next he went to a nearby bookcase, pressed
another secret spring, and a panel opened. He passed
through, the handkerchief adjusted.
Across, in the larger, outside study, another panel
opened and the Clutching Hand, all crouched up, trans-
formed, appeared. Without a word he advanced to
no THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
the couch on which the wounded crook lay and ex-
'' How did it happen ? " he asked at length.
'' Miss Dodge shot him/' answered the others, " with
'^ That Craig Kennedy must have given it to her ! "
he exclaimed with suppressed fury.
For a moment the Clutching Hand stopped to con-
sider. Then, he seized the regular telephone.
'' Dr. Morton ? " he asked as he got the number he
Late as it was the doctor, who was a well-known
surgeon in that part of the country, answered, ap-
parently from an extension of his telephone near his
The call was urgent and apparently from a family
which he did not feel that he could neglect.
" Yes, ril be there — in a few moments," he yawned,
hanging up the receiver and getting out of bed.
Dr. Morton was a middle-aged man, one of those
medical men in whose judgment one instinctively re-
lies. From the brief description of the '' hemorrhage "
which the Clutching Hand had cleverly made over
the wire, he knew that a life was at stake. Quickly
he dressed and went out to his garage, back of the
house to get his little runabout.
It was only a matter of minutes before the doctor
was speeding over the now deserted suburban roads,
apparently on his errand of mercy.
At the address that had been given him, he drew up
to the side of the road, got out and ran up the steps
to the door. A ring at the bell brought a sleepy man
to the door, in his trousers and nightshirt.
THE VAMPIRE in
"How's the patient?'' asked Dr. Morton, eagerly.
'* Patient ? " repeated the man, rubbing his eyes.
" There's no one sick here."
''Then what did you telephone for?" asked the
'' Telephone ? I didn't call up anyone, I was asleep."
Slowly it dawned on the doctor that it was a false
alarm and that he must be the victim of some prac-
'' Well, that's a great note," he growled, as the man
shut the door.
He descended the steps, muttering harsh language at
some unknown trickster. As he climbed back into his
machine and made ready to start, two men seemed to
rise before him, as if from nowhere.
As a matter of fact, they had been sent there by the
Clutching Hand and were hiding in a nearby cellar
way until their chance came.
One man stood on the running board, on either side
of him, and two guns yawned menacingly at him.
" Drive ahead — that way ! " muttered one man, seat-
ing himself in the runabout with his gun close to the
The other kept his place on the running board, and
on they drove in the direction of the mysterious, dark
house. Half a mile, perhaps, down the road, they
halted and left the car beside the walk.
Dr. IMorton was too surprised to mar\'el at any-
thing now and he realized that he was in the power of
two desperate men. Quickly, they blindfolded him.
It seemed an interminable walk, as they led him about
to confuse him, but at last he could feel that they had
taken him into a house and along passageways, w^hich
112 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
they were making unnecessarily long in order to de-
stroy all recollection that they could. Finally he knew
that he was in a room in which others were present.
He suppressed a shudder at the low, menacing voices.
A moment later he felt them remove the bandage
from his eyes, and, blinking at the light, he could see
a hard-faced fellow, pale and weak, on a blood-stained
couch. Over him bent a masked man and another man
stood nearby, endeavoring by improvised bandages to
stop the flow of blood.
'' What can you do for this fellow ? " asked the
Dr. Morton, seeing nothing else to do, for he was
more than outnumbered now, bent down and examined
As he rose, he said, ** He will be dead from loss of
blood by morning, no matter if he is properly band-
" Is there nothing that can save him ? " whispered
the Clutching Hand hoarsely.
" Blood transfusion might save him," replied the
Doctor. " But so much blood would be needed that
whoever gives it would be liable to die himself."
Clutching Hand stood silent a- moment, thinking, as
he gazed at the man who had been one of his chief re-
liances. Then, with a m.enacing gesture, he spoke in a
low, bitter tone.
'' She who shot him shall supply the blood."
A few quick directions followed to his subordinates,
and as he made ready to go, he muttered, " Keep the
doctor here. Don't let him stir from the room."
Then, with the man who had aided him in the
THE VAMPIRE 113
murder of Taylor Dodge, he sallied out into the black-
ness that precedes dawn.
It was just before early daybreak when the Clutch-
ing Hand and his confederate reached the Dodge
House in the city and came up to the back door, over
the fences. As they stood there, the Clutching Hand
produced a master key and started to open the door.
But before he did so, he took out his watch.
'' Let me see,'' he ruminated. " Twenty minutes
past four. At exactly half past, I want you to do as
I told you — see ? ''
The other crook nodded.
*' You may go," ordered the Clutching Hand.
As the crook slunk away. Clutching Hand stealthily
let himself into the house. Noiselessly he prowled
through the halls until he came to Elaine's doorway.
He gave a hasty look up and down the hall. There
was no sound. Quickly he took a syringe from his
pocket and bent down by the door. Inserting the end
under it, he squirted some liquid through which vapor-
ized rapidly in a wide, fine stream of spray. Before
he could give an alarm, Rusty was overcome by the
noxious fumes, rolled over on his back and lay still.
Outside, the other crook was waiting, looking at his
watch. As the hand slowly turned the half hour, he
snapped the watch shut. With a quick glance up and
down the deserted street, he deftly started up the rain
pipe that passed near Elaine's window.
This time there was no faithful Rusty to give warn-
ing and the second intruder, after a glance at Elaine,
still sleeping, went quickly to the door, dragged the in-
sensible dog out of the way, turned the key and ad-
114 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
mitted the Clutching Hand. As he did so he closed
Evidently the fumes had not reached Elaine, or if
they had, the inrush of fresh air revived her, for she
w^aked and quickly reached for the gun. In an in-
stant the other crook had leaped at her. Holding his
hand over her mouth to prevent her screaming he
snatched the revolver away before she could fire it.
In the meantime the Clutching Hand had taken out
some chloroform and, rolling a towel in the form of a
cone, placed it over her face. She struggled, gasping
and gagging, but the struggles grew weaker and
weaker and finally ceased altogether.
When Elaine was completely under the influence of
the drug, they lifted her out of bed, the chloroform
cone still over her face, and quietly carried her to the
door which they opened stealthily.
Downstairs they carried her until they came to the
library with its new safe and there they placed her on
At an early hour an express wagon stopped before
the Dodge house and Jennings, half dressed, answered
*' We've come for that broken suit of armor to be re-
paired," said a workman.
Jennings let the men in. The armor was still on
the stand and the repairers took armor, stand, and all,
laying it on the couch where they wrapped it in the
'covers they had brought for the purpose. They lifted
it up and started to carry it out.
'' Be careful," cautioned the thrifty Jennings.
THE VAMPIRE 115
Rusty, now recovered, was barking and sniffing at
" Kick the mutt off/' growled one man.
The other did so and Rusty snarled and snapped at
him. Jennings took him by the collar and held him as
the repairers went out, loaded the armor on the wagon,
and drove off.
Scarcely had they gone, while Jennings straightened
out the disarranged librar}', when Rusty began jump-
ing about, barking furiously. Jennings looked at him
in amazement, as the dog ran to the window and leaped
He had no time to look after the dog, though, for at
that ven^ instant he heard a voice calling, " Jennings !
Jennings ! ''
It was Marie, almost speechless. He followed her
as she led the way to Miss Elaine's room. There
Marie pointed mutely at the bed.
Elaine was not there.
There, too, were her clothes, neatly folded, as Marie
had hung them for her.
*' Something must have happened to her 1 " wailed
Jennings was now thoroughly alarmed.
^leanwhile the express wagon outside was driving
off, with Rusty tearing after it.
'' What's the matter ? '" cried Aunt Josephine coming
in where the footman and the maid were arguing what
was to be done.
She gave one look at the bed, the clothes, and the
''' Call ^Ir. Kennedv ! '* she cried in alarm.
ii6 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
" Elaine is gone — no one knows how or where/'
announced Craig as he leaped out of bed that morning
to answer the furious ringing of our telephone bell.
It was very early, but Craig dressed hurriedly and
I followed as best I could, for he had the start of me,
tieless and collarless.
When we arrived at the Dodge house. Aunt Joseph-
ine and Marie were fully dressed. Jennings let us in.
'' What has happened ? " demanded Kennedy breath-
While Aunt Josephine tried to tell him, Craig was
busy examining the room.
*' Let us see the library,'' he said at length.
Accordingly down to the library we went. Kennedy
looked about. He seemed to miss something.
** Where is the armor ? " he demanded.
" Why, the men came for it and took it away to re-
pair," answered Jennings.
Kennedy's brow clouded in deep thought.
Outside we had left our taxi, waiting. The door
was open and a new footman, James, was sweeping the
rug, when past him flashed a dishevelled hairy streak.
We were all standing there still as Craig questioned
Jennings about the armor. With a yelp Rusty tore
frantically into the room. A moment he stopped and
barked. We all looked at him in surprise. Then, as
no one moved, he seemed to single out Kennedy. He
seized Craig's coat in his teeth and tried to drag him
'' Here, Rusty — down, sir, down ! " called Jennings.
'' No, Jennings, no," interposed Craig. " What's the
matter, old fellow ? "
Craig patted Rusty whose big brown eyes seemed
THE VAMPIRE 117
mutely appealing. Out of the doorway he went, bark-
ing still. Craig and I followed while the rest stood
in the vestibule.
Rusty was trying to lead Kennedy down the street !
" Wait here/' called Kennedy to Aunt Josephine, as
he stepped with me on the running board of the cab.
'' Go on, Rusty, good dog ! "
Rusty needed no urging. With an eager yelp he
started off, still barking, ahead of us, our car follow-
ing. On we went, much to the astonishment of those
who were on the street at such an early hour.
It seemed miles that we went, but at last we came to
a peculiarly deserted looking house. Here Rusty
turned in and began scratching at the door. We
jumped off the cab and followed.
The door was locked when we tried and from in-
side we could get no answer. We put our shoulders
to it and burst it in. Rusty gave a leap forward with
a joyous bark.
We followed, more cautiously. There were pieces
of armor strewn all over the floor. Rusty sniffed at
them and looked about, disappointed, then howled.
I looked from the armor to Kennedy, in blank
'' Elaine was kidnapped — in the armor," he cried.
He was right. Meanwhile, the armor repairers had
stopped at last at this apparently deserted house, a
strange sort of repair shop. Still keeping it wrapped
in blankets, they had taken the armor out of the wagon
and now laid it down on an old broken bed. Then they
had unwrapped it and taken off the helmet.
There was Elaine !
ii8 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
She had been stupefied, bound and gagged. Piece
after piece of the armor they removed, finding her
still only half conscious.
'' Sh! What's that? '' cautioned one of the men.
They paused and listened. Sure enough, there was a
sound outside. They opened the window cautiously.
A dog was scratching on the door, endeavoring to get
in. It was Rusty.
'' I think it's her dog," said the man, turning.
" We'd better let him in. Someone might see him."
The other nodded and a moment later the door
opened and in ran Rusty. Straight to Elaine he went,
starting to lick her hand.
'^ Right — her dog," exclaimed the other man draw-
ing a gun and hastily levelling it at Rusty.
" Don't ! " cautioned the first. " It would make too
much noise. You'd better choke him ! "
The fellow grabbed for Rusty. Rusty was too
quick. He jumped. Around the room they ran.
Rusty saw the wide open window — and his chance.
Out he went and disappeared, leaving the man cussing
A moment's argument followed, then, they wrapped
Elaine in the blankets alone, still bound and gagged,
and carried her out.
In the secret den, the Clutching Hand was waiting,
gazing now and then at his watch, and then at the
wounded man before him. In a chair his first assist-
ant sat, watching Dr. Morton.
A knock at the door caused them to turn their
heads. The crook opened it and in walked the other
crooks who had carried ofif Elaine in the suit of armor.
THE VAMPIRE 119
Elaine was now almost conscious, as they sat her
down in a chair and partly loosed her bonds and the
gag. She gazed about, frightened.
^^ Oh — help! help!" she screamed as she caught
sight of the now familiar mask of the Clutching
'' Call all you want — here, young lady," he laughed
unnaturally. " Xo one can hear. These walls are
soundproof ! "
Elaine shrank back.
'' Now, doc," he added harshly to Dr. :\Iorton. '' It
was she who shot him. Her blood must save him."
Dr. ilorton recoiled at the thought of torturing the
beautiful young girl before him.
" Are — you willing — to have your blood trans-
fused?" he parleyed.
^' No — no — no ! " she cried in horror.
Dr. ]\Iorton turned to the desperate criminal. '' I
cannot do it."
'' The deuce you can't ! "
A cold steel revolver pressed down on Dr. Morton's
stomach. In the other hand the master crook held
" You have just one minute to make up your mind."
Dr. ]\Iorton shrank back. The revolver followed.
The pressure of a fly's foot meant eternity for him.
"I — I'll try!"
The other crooks next carried Elaine, struggling, and
threw her down beside the wounded man. Together
they arranged another couch beside him.
Dr. Morton, still covered by the gun, bent over the
two, the hardened criminal and the delicate, beautiful
girl. Clutching Hand glared fiendishly, insanely.
I20 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
From his bag he took a little piece of something that
shone like silver. It was in the form of a minute,
hollow cylinder, with two grooves on it, a cylinder so
tiny that it would scarcely have slipped over the point
of a pencil.
*' A cannulla," he explained, as he prepared to make
an incision in Elaine's arm and in the arm of the
He cuffed it over the severed end of the artery, so
cleverly that the inner linings of the vein and artery,
the endothelium as it is called, were in complete con-
tact with each other.
Clutching Hand watched eagerly, as though he had
found some new, scientific engine of death in the little
A moment and the blood that was, perhaps, to save
the life of the wounded felon was coursing into his
veins from Elaine.
A moment later. Dr. Morton looked up at the Clutch-
ing Hand and nodded, *' Well, it's working ! "
At Elaine's head. Clutching Hand himself was ad-
ministering just enough ether to keep her under and
prevent a struggle that would wreck all. The wounded
man had not been anesthetized and seemed feebly con-
scious of what was being done to save him.
All were now bending over the two.
Dr. Morton bent closest over Elaine. He looked at
her anxiously, felt her pulse, watched her breathing,
then pursed up his lips.
" This is — dangerous," he ventured, gazing askance
at the grim Clutching Hand.
'' Can't help it," came back laconically and relent-
• _ :
THE VAMPIRE 121
The doctor shuddered.
The man was a veritable vampire !
Outside the deserted house, Kennedy and I were
looking helplessly about.
Suddenly Kennedy dashed back and reappeared a
minute later with a couple of pieces of armor. He
held them down to Rusty and the dog sniffed at them.
But Rusty stood still.
Kennedy pointed to the ground.
Nothing doing. In leading us where he had been
before, Rusty had reached the end of his canine abil-
Everything we could do to make Rusty understand
that we wanted him to follow a trail was unavailing.
He simply could not do it. Kennedy coaxed and
scolded. Rusty merely sat up on his hind legs and
begged with those irresistible brown eyes.
^' You can't make a bloodhound out of a :collie,"
despaired Craig, looking about again helplessly.
Then he reached into his pocket and pulled out a
police whistle. He blew three sharp blasts.
Would it bring help?
While we were thus despairing, the continued ab-
sence of Dr. Morton from home had alarmed his
family and had set in motion another train of events.
When he did not return, and could not be located
at the place to which he was supposed to have gone,
several policemen had been summoned to his house,
and they had come, finally, with real bloodhounds
from a suburban station.
There were the tracks of his car. That the police
122 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
themselves could follow, while two men came along
holding in leash the pack, leaders of which were
'' Searchlight " and " Bob."
It had not been long before the party came across
the deserted runabout beside the road. There they
had stopped, for a nioment.
If w^as just then that they heard Kennedy's call, and
one of them had been detailed to answer it.
''Well, what do you want?" asked the officer, eye-
ing Kennedy suspiciously as he stood there with the
armor. '' What's them pieces of tin — hey? "
Kennedy quickly flashed his own special badge. '' I
w^ant to trail a girl," he exclaimed hurriedly. '' Can I
find a bloodhound about here?"
'' A hound? Why, we have a pack — over there."
*' Bring them — quick ! " ordered Craig.
The policeman, who was an intelligent fellow, saw
at once that, as Kennedy said, the two trails probably
crossed. He shouted and in a few seconds the others,
with the pack, came.
A brief parley resulted in our joining forces.
Kennedy held the armor down to the dogs.
'' Searchlight " gave a low whine, then, followed by
" Bob " and the others, was off, all with noses close to
the ground. We followed.
The armor was, after all, the missing link.
Through woods and fields the dogs led us.
Would we be in time to rescue Elaine?
In the mysterious haunt of the Clutching Hand, all
were still standing around Elaine and the wounded
Just then a cry from one of the group startled the
THE VAMPIRE 123
rest. One of them, less hardened than the Clutching
Hand, had turned away from the sight, had gone to
the window, and had been attracted by something out-
*' Look ! '' he cried.
From the absolute stillness of death, there was now
wild excitement among the crooks.
'• PoHce I Police ! '' they shouted to each other as
they fled by a doonvay to a secret passage.
Clutching Hand turned to his first assistant.
''You — go — too," he ordered.
The dogs had led us to a strange looking house, and
were now baying and leaping up against the door. We
did not stop to knock, but began to break through, for
inside we could hear faintly sounds of excitement and
cries of ''Police — police!''
The door yielded and we rushed into a long hallway.
Up the passage we went until we came to another door.
An instant and we were all against it. It was stout,
but it shook before us. The panels began to yield.
On the other side of that door from us, the master
crook stood for a moment. Dr. ^lorton hesitated, not
knowing quite what to do.
Just then the wounded Pitts Slim lifted his hand
feebly. He seemed vaguely to understand that the
game was up. He touched the Clutching Hand.
" You did your best. Chief," he murmured thickly.
" Beat it, if you can. I'm a goner, anyway.''
Clutching Hand hesitated by the wounded crook.
This was the loyalty of gangland, worthy a better
124 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
cause. He could not bring himself to desert his paL
He was undecided, still.
But there was the door, bulging, and a panel burst-
He moved over to a panel in the wall and pushed a
spring. It slid open and he stepped through. Then
it closed — not a second too soon.
Back in his private room, he quickly stepped to a
curtained iron door. Pushing back the curtains, he
went through it and disappeared, the curtains falling
At the end of the passageway, he stopped, in a sort
of grotto or cave. As he came out, he looked back.
All was still. No one was about. He was safe here,
Ofif came the mask and he turned down the road a
few rods distant beyond some bushes, as little con-
cerned about the wild happenings as any other passer-
by might have been.
At the very moment when we burst in, Dr. Morton,
seeing his chance, stopped the blood transfusion, work-
ing frantically to stop the flow of blood.
Kennedy sprang to Elaine's side, horrified by the
blood that had spattered over everything.
With a mighty effort he checked a blow that he had
aimed at Dr. Morton, as it flashed over him that the
surgeon, now free again, was doing his best to save
the terribly imperilled life of Elaine.
Just then the police burst through the secret panel
and rushed on, leaving us alone, with the unconscious,
scarcely breathing Elaine.
From the sounds we could tell that they had come to
THE VAMPIRE 125
the private room of the Clutching Hand. It was
empty and they were non-plussed.
*' Not a window ! " called one.
" What are those curtains ? "
They pulled them back, disclosing an iron door.
They tried it but it was bolted on the other side.
Blows had no effect. They had to give it up for the
A policeman now stood beside Elaine and the
wounded burglar who was muttering deliriously to
He was pretty far gone, as the policeman knelt down
and tried to get a statement out of him.
" Who was that man who left you — last — the
Not a word came from the crook.
The policeman repeated his question.
With his last strength, he looked disdainfully at the
officer's pad and pencil. '' The gangster never
squeals,'' he snarled, as he fell back.
Dr. Morton had paid no attention whatever to him,
but was w^orking desperately now over Elaine, trying
to bring her back to life.
''Is she — going to — die?" gasped Craig, fran-
Every eye was riveted on Dr. Morton.
'' She is all right," he muttered. '' But the man is
going to die."
At the sound of Craig's voice Elaine had feebly
opened her eyes.
" Thank heaven," breathed Craig, with a sigh of
relief, as his hand gently stroked Elaine's unnaturally
126 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
THE DOUBLE TRAP
Mindful of the sage advice that a time of peace is
best employed in preparing for war, I was busily en-
gaged in cleaning my automatic gun one morning as
Kennedy and I were seated in our living room.
Our door buzzer sounded and Kennedy, always
alert, jumped up, pushing aside a great pile of papers
which had accumulated in the Dodge case.
Two steps took him to the wall where the day be-
fore he had installed a peculiar box about four by six
inches long connected in some way with a lens-like
box of similar size above our bell and speaking tube
in the hallway below. He opened it, disclosing an
oblong plate of ground glass.
'' I thought the seismograph arrangement was not
quite enough after that spring-gun affair," he re-
marked, *' so I have put in a sort of teleview of my
own invention — so that I can see down into the vesti-
bule downstairs. Well — just look who's here! "
*' Some new fandangled periscope arrangement, I
suppose? " I queried moving slowly over toward it.
However, one look was enough to interest me. I
can express it only in slang. There, framed in the
little thing, was a vision of as swell a '' chicken " as I
have ever seen.
I whistled under my breath.
'' Um ! " I exclaimed shamelessly, " A peach !
Who's your friend ? ''
I had never said a truer word than in my description
THE DOUBLE TRAP 127
of her, though I did not know it at the time. She was
indeed known as " Gertie the Peach " in the select
circle to which she belonged.
Gertie was ver}^ attractive, though frightfully over-
dressed. But, then, no one thinks anything of that
now, in New York.
Kennedy had opened the lower door and our fair
visitor was coming upstairs. Meanwhile he was
deeply in thought before the '' teleview." He made up
his mind quickly, however.
'' Go in there, Walter," he said, seizing me quickly
and pushing me into my room. *' I want you to wait
there and watch her carefully."
I slipped the gun into my pocket and went, just as a
knock at the door told me she was outside.
Kennedy opened the door, disclosing a ver}^ ex-
cited young woman.
'' Oh, Professor Kennedy," she cried, all in one
breath, with much emotion, ^' Fm so glad I found you
in. I can't tell you. Oh — my jewels! They have
been stolen — and my husband must not know of it.
Help me to recover them — please! "
She had not paused, but had gone on in a wild,
" Just a moment, my dear young lady," interrupted
Craig, finding at last a chance to get a word in edge-
wise. '' Do you see that table — and all those papers ?
Really, I can't take your case. I am too busy as it is
even to take the cases of many of my own clients."
" But, please. Professor Kennedy — please ! " she
begged. '' Help me. It means — oh, I can't tell you
how much it means to me ! " '*
128 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
She had come close to him and had laid her warm,
little soft hand on his, in ardent entreaty.
From my hiding place in my room, I could not help
seeing that she was using every charm of her sex and
personality to lure him on, as she clung confidingly to
him. Craig was very much embarrassed, and I could
not help a smile at his discomfiture. Seriously, I
should have hated to have been in his position.
Gertie had thrown her arms about Kennedy, as if
in wildest devotion. I wondered what Elaine would
have, thought, if she had a picture of that !
'' Oh," she begged him, '' please — please, help me ! ''
Still Kennedy seemed utterly unaffected by her
passionate embrace. Carefully he loosened her fin-
gers from about his neck and removed the plump, en-
Gertie sank into a chair, weeping, while Kennedy
stood before her a moment in deep abstraction.
Finally he seemed to make up his mind to some-
thing. His manner toward her changed. He took a
step to her side.
'' I will help you," he said, laying his hand on her
shoulder. '* If it is possible I will recover your jewels.
Where do you live? "
''At Hazlehurst," she replied, gratefully. ''Oh,
Mr. Kennedy, how can I ever thank you ? "
She seemed overcome with gratitude and took his
hand, pressed it, even kissed it.
" Just a minute," he added, carefully extricating
his hand. " Til be ready in just a minute."
Kennedy entered the room where I was listening.
"What's it all about, Craig?" I whispered, mysti-
THE DOUBLE TRAP 129
For a moment he stood thinking, apparently recon-
sidering what he had just done. Then his second
thought seemed to approve it.
" This is a trap of the Clutching Hand, Walter," he
whispered, adding tensely, '' and we're going to walk
right into it/'
I looked at him in. amazement.
" But, Craig,'' I demurred, " that's foolhardy. Have
her trailed — anything — but — "
He shook his head and wuth a mere motion of his
hand brushed aside my objections as he went to a
cabinet across the room.
From one shelf he took out a small metal box and
from another a test tube, placing the test tube in his
waistcoat pocket, and the small box in his coatpocket,
with excessive care.
Then he turned and motioned to me to follow him
out into the other room. I did so, stuffiing my '' gatt "
into my pocket.
'' Let me introduce my friend, Mr. Jameson," said
Craig, presenting me to the pretty crook.
The introduction quickly over, we three went out to
get Craig's car which he kept at a nearby garage.
That forenoon. Perry Bennett was reading up a
case. In the outer office Milton Schofield, his office
boy, was industriously chewing gum and admiring his
feet cocked up on the desk before him.
The door to the waiting room opened and an attrac-
tive woman of perhaps thirty, dressed in extreme
mourning, entered with a boy.
Milton cast a dance of scorn at the " little dude."
I30 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
He was in reality about fourteen years old but was
dressed to look much younger.
Milton took his feet down in deference to the lady,
but snickered openly at the boy. A fight seemed im-
'' Did you wish to see Mr. Bennett ? " asked the pre-
cocious Milton politely on one hand while on the other
he made a wry grimace.
'' Yes — here is my card/' replied the woman.
It was deeply bordered in black. Even Milton was
startled at reading it : '' Mrs. Taylor Dodge.'*
He looked at the woman in open-mouthed astonish-
ment. Even he knew that Elaine's mother had been
dead for years.
The woman, however, true to her name in the artis-
tic coterie in which she was leader, had sunk into a
chair and was sobbing convulsively, as only " Weepy
Mary " could.
It was so effective that even Milton was visibly
moved. He took the card in, excitedly, to Bennett.
" There's a woman outside — says she is Mrs.
Dodge ! " he cried.
If Milton had had an X-ray eye he could have seen
her take a cigarette from her handbag and light it
nonchalantly the moment he was gone.
As for Bennett, Milton, who was watching him
closely, thought he was about to discharge him on the
spot for bothering him. He took the card, and his
face expressed the most extreme surprise, then anger.
He thought a moment.
" Tell that woman to state her business in writing,'^
he thundered curtly at Milton.
As the boy turned to go back to the waiting room.
THE DOUBLE TRAP 131
Weepy Mary, hearing him coming, hastily shoved the
cigarette into her '' son's " hand.
'' Mr. Bennett says for you to write out what it is
you want to see him about/' reported Milton, indicat-
ing the table before which she was sitting.
Mary had automatically taken up sobbing, with the
release of the cigarette. She looked at the table on
which were letter paper, pens and ink.
" I may write here ? " she asked.
" Surely, ma'am," replied Milton, still very much
overwhelmed by her sorrow.
Weepy Mary sat there, writing and sobbing.
In the midst of his sympathy, however, Milton
sniffed. There was an unmistakable odor of tobacco
smoke about the room. He looked sharply at the
'* son " and discovered the still smoking cigarette.
It was too much for Milton's outraged dignity.
Bennett did not allow him that coveted privilege. This
upstart could not usurp it.
He reached over and seized the boy by the arm and
swung him around till he faced a sign in the corner on
"See?" he demanded.
The sign read courteously :
'* No Smoking in This Office — Please.
'' Perry Bennett."
" Leggo my arm," snarled the " son," putting the
offending cigarette defiantly into his mouth.
Milton coolly and deliberately reached over and,
with an exaggerated politeness swiftly and effectively
removed it, dropping it on the floor and stamping de-
fiantly on it.
132 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
" Son '' raised his fists pugnaciously, for he didn't
care much for the role he was playing, anyhow.
Milton did the same.
There was every element of a gaudy mix-up, when
the outer door of the office suddenly swung open and
Elaine Dodge entered.
Gallantry was Milton's middle name and he sprang
forward to hold the door, and then opened Bennett's
door, as he ushered in Elaine.
As she passed " Weepy Mary," who was still writ-
ing at the table and crying bitterly, Elaine hesitated
and looked at her curiously. Even after Milton had
opened Bennett's door, she could not resist another
glance. Instinctively Elaine seemed to scent trouble.
Bennett was still studying the black-bordered card,
when she greeted him.
** Who is that woman ? " she asked, still wondering
about the identity of the Niobe outside.
At first he said nothing. But finally, seeing that she
had noticed it, he handed Elaine the card, reluctantly.
Elaine read it with a gasp. The look of surprise
that crossed her face was terrible.
Before she could say anything, however, Milton had
returned with the sheet of paper on which '' Weepy
Mary " had written and handed it to Bennett.
Bennett read it with uncontrolled astonishment.
" What is it ? " demanded Elaine.
He handed it to her and she read :
" As the lawful wife and widow of Taylor Dodge, I
demand my son's rights and my own.
" Mrs. Taylor Dodge."
Elaine gasped at It.
THE DOUBLE TRAP 133
'' She — my father's wife ! '' she exclaimed, *' What
effrontery! What does she mean?"
'' Tell me/' Elaine cried, " Is there — can there be
anything in it ? No — no — there isn't ! "
Bennett spoke in a low tone. '' I have heard a
whisper of some scandal or other connected with your
father — but — " He paused.
Elaine w^as first shocked, then indignant.
'' Why — such a thing is absurd. Show the woman
'' No — please — Miss Dodge. Let me deal with
By this time Elaine was furious.
''Yes — I ztnll see her."
She pressed the button on Bennett's desk and Mil-
" Milton, show the — the woman in," she ordered,
'' and that boy, too."
As Milton turned to crook his finger at " Weepy
Mary," she nodded surreptitiously and dug her fingers
sharply into '' son's " ribs.
" Yell — you little fool, — yell," she whispered.
Obedient to his *' mother's " commands, and much
to Milton's disgust, the boy started to cry in close imi-
tation of his elder.
Elaine was still holding the paper in her hands when
''What does all this mean?" she demanded.
" Weepy Mary," between sobs, managed to blurt
out, " You are Miss Elaine Dodge, aren't you ? Well,
it means that your father married me when I was only
seventeen and this boy is his son — your half brother."
134 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
''No — never," cried Elaine vehemently, unable to
restrain her disgust. '' He never married again. He
was too devoted to the memory of my mother."
" Weepy Mary " smiled cynically. " Come with me
and I will show you the church records and the min-
ister who married us."
''You will?" repeated Elaine defiantly. "Well,
I'll just do as you ask. Mr. Bennett shall go with me."
" No, no, Miss Dodge — don't go. Leave the mat-
ter to me," urged Bennett. " I will take care of her.
Besides, I must be in court in twenty minutes."
Elaine paused, but she was thoroughly aroused.
" Then I will go with her myself," she cried de-
In spite of every objection that Bennett made,
" Weepy Mary," her son, and Elaine went out to call
a taxicab to take them to the railroad station where
they could catch a train to the little town where the
woman asserted she had been married.
Meanwhile, before a little country church in the
town, a closed automobile had drawn up.
As the door opened, a figure, humped up and masked,
It was the Clutching Hand.
The car had scarcely pulled away, when he gave a
long rap, followed by two short taps, at the door of the
vestry, a secret code, evidently.
Inside the vestry room a well-dressed man but with
a very sinister face heard the knock and a second later
opened the door.
" What — not ready yet ? " growled the Clutching
Hand. "Quick — now — get on those clothes. I
THE DOUBLE TRAP 135
heard the train whistle as I came in the car. In which
closet does the minister keep them ? "
The crook, without a word, went to a closet and took
out a suit of clothes of ministerial cut. Then he
hastily put them on, adding some side-whiskers, which
he had brought with him.
At about the same time, Elaine, acompanied by
" Weepy Mary '' and her ** son," had arrived at the
little tumble-down station and had taken the only ve-
hicle in sight, a very ancient carriage.
It ambled along until, at last, it pulled up before the
vestry room door of the church, just as the bogus
minister was finishing his transformation from a frank
crook. Clutching Hand was giving him final instruc-
Elaine and the others alighted and approached the
church, while the ancient vehicle rattled away.
'' They're coming," whispered the crook, peering
cautiously out of the window.
Clutching Hand moved silently and snake-like into
the closet and shut the door.
'' How do you do. Dr. Carton ? " greeted '' Weepy
^Mary." '' I guess you don't remember me."
The clerical gentleman looked at her fixedly a mo-
"Remember you?" he repeated. ''Of course, my
dear. I remember even'one I marry."
''And you remember to whom you married me?"
" Perfectly. To an older man — a Taylor Dodge."
Elaine was overcome.
" Won't you step in ? " he asked suavely. " Your
friend here doesn't seem well."
They all entered.
136 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
" And you — you say — you married this — this
woman to Taylor Dodge ? '' queried Elaine, tensely.
The bogus minister seemed to be very fatherly.
** Yes," he assented, '' I certainly did so/'
" Have you the record ? '' asked Elaine, fighting to
" Why, yes. I can show you the record."
He moved over to the closet. " Come over here,"
He opened the door. Elaine screamed and drew
back. There stood her arch enemy, the Clutching
As he stepped forth, she turned, wildly, to run —
anywhere. But strong arms seized her and forced her
into a chair.
She looked at the woman and the minister. It was
a plot !
A moment Clutching Hand looked Elaine over.
** Put the others out," he ordered the other crook.
Quickly the man obeyed, leading '' Weepy Mary "
and her *' son " to the door, and waving them away as
he locked it. They left, quite as much in the dark
about the master criminal's identity as Elaine.
'' Now, my pretty dear," began the Clutching Hand
as the lock turned in the vestry door, *' we shall be
joined shortly by your friend, Craig Kennedy, and,"
he added with a leer, *' I think your rather insistent
search for a certain person will cease."
Elaine drew back in the chair, horrified, at the im-
Clutching Hand laughed, diabolically.
While these astounding events were transpiring in
THE DOUBLE TRAP 137
the little church, Kennedy and I had been tearing
across the country in his big car, following the direc-
tions of our fair friend.
We stopped at last before a prosperous, attractive-
looking house and entered a very prettily furnished
but small parlor. Heavy portieres hung over the door-
way into the hall, over another into a back room and
over the bay windows.
*' Won't you sit down a moment?" coaxed Gertie.
^* I'm quite blown to pieces after that ride. My, how
you drive ! ''
As she pulled aside the hall portieres, three men with
guns thrust their hands out. I turned. Two others
had stepped from the back room and two more from
the bay window. We were surrounded. Seven guns
were aimed at us with deadly precision.
** No — no — Walter — it's no use," shouted Ken-
nedy calmly restraining my hand which I had clapped
on my own gun.
At the same time, with his other hand, he took from
his pocket the small can which I had seen him place
there, and held it aloft.
*^ Gentlemen," he said quietly. '' I suspected some
such thing. I have here a small box of fulminate of
mercury. If I drop it, this building and the entire
vicinity will be blown to atoms. Go ahead — shoot ! "
he added, nonchalantly.
The seven of them drew back, rather hurriedly.
Kennedy was a dangerous prisoner.
He calmly sat down in an arm chair, leaning back
as he carefully balanced the deadly little box of ful-
minate of mercury on his knee. He placed his finger
tips together and smiled at the seven crooks, who had
138 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
gathered together, staring breathlessly at this man who
toyed with death.
Gertie ran from the room.
For a moment they looked at each other, undecided,
then one by one, they stepped away from Kennedy to-
ward the door.
The leader was the last to go. He had scarcely
taken a step.
" Stop! " ordered Kennedy.
The crook did so. As Craig moved toward him, he
waited, cold sweat breaking out on his face.
*' Say," he whined, " you let me be ! ''
It was ineffectual. Kennedy, still smiling confi-
dently, came closer, still holding the deadly little box,
balanced between two fingers.
He took the crook's gun and dropped it into his
" Sit down ! " ordered Craig.
Outside, the other six parleyed in hoarse whispers.
One raised a gun, but the woman and the others re-
strained him and fled.
'' Take me to your master ! '' demanded Kennedy.
The crook remained silent.
" Where is he? " repeated Craig. " Tell me ! ''
Still the man remained silent. Craig looked the fel-
low over again. Then, still with that confident smile,
he reached into his inside pocket and drew forth the
tube I had seen him place there.
" No matter how much you accuse me," added
Craig casually, " no one will ever take the word of a
crook that a reputable scientist like me would do what
I am about to do."
THE DOUBLE TRAP 139
He had taken out his penknife and opened it. Then
he beckoned to me.
*' Bare his arm and hold his wrist, Walter," he said.
Craig bent down with the knife and the tube, then
paused a moment and turned the tube so that we could
On the label were the ominous words :
Germ culture 6248A
Bacillus Leprae (Leprosy)
Calmly he took the knife and proceeded to make an
incision in the man's arm. The crook's feelings un-
derwent a terrific struggle.
'' No — no — no — don't/' he implored. " I will
take you to the Clutching Hand — even if it kills
Kennedy stepped back, replacing the tube in his
" Very well, go ahead ! " he agreed.
We followed the crook, Craig still holding the
deadly box of fulminate of mercury carefully balanced
so that if anyone shot him from a hiding place it
No sooner had we gone than Gertie hurried to the
nearest telephone to inform the Clutching Hand of
Elaine had sunk back into the chair, as the telephone
rang. Clutching Hand answered it.
A moment later, in uncontrollable fury he hurled the
instrument to the floor.
*' Here — we've got to act quickly — that devil has
140 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
escaped again/' he hissed. *' We must get her away.
You keep her here. Til be back — right away — with
He dashed madly from the church, pulHng off his
mask as he gained the street.
Kennedy had forced the crook ahead of us into the
car which was waiting and I followed, taking the
wheel this time.
'' Which way, now — quick ! " demanded Craig,
" And if you get me in wrong — IVe got that tube yet
— you remember."
Our crook started off with a whole burst of direc-
tions that rivalled the motor guide — '' through the
town, following trolley tracks, jog right, jog left under
the R. R. bridge, leaving trolley tracks; at cemetery
turn left, stopping at the old stone church."
'* Is this it ? " asked Craig incredulously.
" Yes — as I live," swore the crook in a cowed voice.
He had gone to pieces. Kennedy jumped from the
" Here, take this gun, Walter," he said to me.
" Don't take your eyes off the fellow — keep him
Craig walked around the church, out of sight, until
he came to a small vestry window and looked in.
There was Elaine, sitting in a chair, and near her
stood an elderly looking man in clerical garb, which
to Craig's trained eye was quite evidently a disguise.
Elaine happened just then to glance at the window
and her eyes grew wide with astonishment at the sight
THE DOUBLE TRAP 141
He made a hasty motion to her to make a dash for
the door. She nodded quietly.
With a glance at her guardian, she suddenly made a
He was at her in a moment, pouncing on her, cat-
Kennedy had seized an iron bar that lay beside the
window where some workmen had been repairing the
stone pavement, and, with a blow shattered the glass
and the sash.
At the sound of the smashing glass the crook turned
and with a mighty effort threw Elaine aside, drawing
his revolver. As he raised it, Elaine sprang at him
and frantically seized his wrist.
Utterly merciless, the man brought the butt of the
gun down with full force on Elaine's head. Only her
hat and hair saved her, but she sank unconscious.
Then he turned at Craig and fired twice.
One shot grazed Craig's hat, but the other struck
him in the shoulder and Kennedy reeled.
With a desperate effort he pulled himself together
and leaped forward again, closing with the 'fellow and
wrenching the gun from him before he could fire again.
It fell to the floor with a clang.
Just then the man broke away and made a dash for
the door leading back into the church itself, with Ken-
nedy after him. At the foot of a flight of stairs, he
turned long enough to pick up a chair. As Kennedy
came on, he deliberately smashed it over Craig's head.
Kennedy warded ofT the blow as best he could, then,
still undaunted, started up the stairs after the fellow.
Up they went, into the choir loft and then into the
belfry itself. There they came to sheer hand to hand
142 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
struggle. Kennedy tripped on a loose board and
would have fallen backwards, if he had not been able
to recover himself just in time. The crook, desperate,
leaped for the ladder leading further up into the stee-
ple. Kennedy followed.
Elaine had recovered consciousness almost imme-
diately and, hearing the commotion, stirred and started
to rise and look about.
From the church she could hear sounds of the
struggle. She paused just long enough to seize the
crook's revolver lying on the floor.
She hurried into the church and up into the belfry,
thence up the ladder, whence the sounds came.
The crook by this time had gained the outside of
the steeple through an opening. Kennedy was in close
On the top of the steeple was a great gilded cross,
considerably larger than a man. As the crook clam-
bered outside, he scaled the steeple, using a lightning
rod and some projecting points to pull himself up,
Kennedy followed unhesitatingly.
There they were, struggling in deadly combat, cling-
ing to the gilded cross.
The first I knew of it was a horrified gasp from my
own crook. I looked up carefully, fearing it was a
stall to get me oflf my guard. There were Kennedy
and the other crook, struggling, swaying back and
forth, between life and death.
I looked at my man. What should I do? Should
I leave him and go to Craig? If I did, might he not
pick us both ofif, from a safe vantage point, by some
THE DOUBLE TRAP 143
There was nothing I could do.
Kennedy was clinging to a lightning rod on the
I gasped as Craig reeled back. But he managed to
catch hold of the rod further down and cling to it.
The crook seemed to exult diabolically. Holding
with both hands to the cross, he let himself out to his
full length and stamped on Kennedy's fingers, tr\'ing
every way to dislodge him. It was all Kennedy could
do to keep his hold.
I cried out in agony at the sight, for he had dis-
lodged one of Craig's hands. The other could not
hold on much longer. He was about to fall.
Just then I saw a face at the little window opening
out from the ladder to the outside of the steeple —
a woman's face, tense with horror.
It was Elaine!
Quickly a hand followed and in it was a revolver.
Just as the crook was about to dislodge Kennedy's
other hand, I saw a flash and a puff of smoke and a
second later, heard a report — and another — and an-
The crook who had taken refuge seemed to stagger
back, wildly, taking a couple of steps in the thin air.
Kennedy regained his hold.
With a sickening thud, the body of the crook landed
on the ground around the comer of the church from
" Come — you ! " I ground out, covering my owm
crook with the pistol, ** and if you attempt a getaway,
I'll kill you, too ! ''
144 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
He followed, trembling, unnerved.
We bent over the man. It seemed that every bone
in his body must be broken. He groaned, and before
I could even attempt anything for him, he was dead.
As Kennedy let himself slowly and painfully down
the lightning rod, Elaine seized him and, with all her
strength, pulled him in through the window.
He was quite weak now from loss of blood.
" Are you — all right ? " she gasped, as they reached
the foot of the ladder in the belfry.
Craig looked down at his torn and soiled clothes.
Then, in spite of the smarting pain of his wounds, he
smiled, ^' Yes — all right!"
'' Thank heaven ! " she murmured fervently, trying
to staunch the flow of blood.
Craig gazed at her eagerly. The great look of relief
in her face seemed to take away all the pain from his
own face. In its place came a look of wonder —
He could not resist.
'' This time — it was you — saved me ! " he cried,
Involuntarily his arms sought hers — and he held
her a moment, looking deep into her wonderful eyes.
Then their faces came slowly together in their first
THE HIDDEN VOICE 145
THE HIDDEN VOICE
'' Jameson — wake up ! ''
The strain of the Dodge case was beginning to tell
on me, for it was keeping us at work at all kinds of
hours to circumvent the Clutching Hand, by far the
cleverest criminal with whom Kennedy had ever had
anything to do.
I had slept later than usual that morning and, in a
half doze, I heard a voice calling me, strangely like
Kennedy's and yet unlike it.
I leaped out of bed, still in my pajamas, and stood
for a moment staring about. Then I ran into the liv-
ing room. I looked about, rubbing my eyes, startled.
No one was there.
'' Hey — Jameson — wake up ! "
It was spooky.
I ran back into Craig's room. He was gone.
There was no one in any of our rooms. The surprise
had now thoroughly awakened me.
" Where — the deuce — are you ? '' I demanded.
Suddenly I heard the voice again — no doubt about
'* Here I am — over on the couch ! '^
I scratched my head, puzzled. There was cer-
tainly no one on that couch.
A laugh greeted me. Plainly, though, it came from
the couch. I w^ent over to it and, ridiculous as it
seemed, began to throw aside the pillows.
There lay nothing but a little oblong oaken box,
146 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
perhaps eight or ten inches long and three or four
inches square at the ends. In the face were two
peculiar square holes and from the top projected a
black disc, about the size of a watch, fastened on a
swinging metal arm. In the face of the disc were
several perforated holes.
I picked up the strange looking thing in wonder and
from that magic oak box actually came a burst of
'' Come over to the laboratory, right away," pealed
forth a merry voice. '' I've something to show you.''
'' Well," I gasped, " what do you know about that ? "
Very early that morning Craig had got up, leaving
me snoring. Cases never wearied him. He thrived
He had gone over to the laboratory and set to work
in a corner over another of those peculiar boxes, ex-
actly like that which he had already left in our rooms.
In the face of each of these boxes, as I have said,
were two square holes. The sides of these holes con-
verged inward into the box, in the manner of a four
sided pyramid, ending at the apex in a little circle of
black, perhaps half an inch across.
Satisfied at last with his work, Craig had stood back
from the weird apparatus and shouted my name. He
liad enjoyed my surprise to the fullest extent, then had
asked me to join him.
Half an hour afterward I walked into the laboratory,
feeling a little sheepish over the practical joke, but
none the less curious to find out all about it.
*' What is it ? " I asked indicating the apparatus.
'' A vocaphone," he replied, still laughing, " the loud
speaking telephone, the little box that hears and talks.
THE HIDDEN VOICE 147
It talks right out in meeting, too — no transmitter to
hold to the mouth, no receiver to hold to the ear. You
see, this transmitter is so sensitive that it picks up
even a whisper, and the receiver is placed back of those
two megaphone-like pyramids."
He was standing at a table, carefully packing up one
of the vocaphones and a lot of wire.
'^ I believe the Clutching Hand has been shadowing
the Dodge house," he continued thoughtfully. '' As
long as we watch the place, too, he will do nothing.
But if we should seem, ostentatiously, not to be watch-
ing, perhaps he may try something, and we may be
able to get a clue to his identity over this vocaphone.
I nodded. '' WeVe got to run him down somehow,"
'' Yes," he said, taking his coat and hat. '' I am
going to connect up one of these things in Miss
Dodge's library and arrange with the telephone com-
pany for a clear wire so that we can listen in here,
where that fellow will never suspect."
At about the same time that Craig and I sallied forth
on this new mission, Elaine was arranging some flow-
ers on a stand near the corner of the Dodge library
where the secret panel was in which her father had
hidden the papers for the possession of which the
Clutching Hand had murdered him. They did not dis-
close his identity, we knew, but they did give directions
to at least one of his hang-outs and were therefore
She had moved away from the table, but, as she
did so, her dress caught in something in the woodwork.
148 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
She tried to loosen it and in so doing touched the little
metallic spring on which her dress had caught.
Instantly, to her utter surprise, the panel moved.
It slid open, disclosing a strong box.
Elaine took it amazed, looked at it a moment, then
carried it to a table and started to pry it open.
It was one of those tin dispatch boxes which, as far
as I have ever been able to determine, are chiefly
valuable for allowing one to place a lot of stuff in a
receptacle which is very convenient for a criminal.
She had no trouble in opening it.
Inside were some papers, sealed in an envelope and
marked '' Limpy Red Correspondence.''
" They must be the Clutching Hand papers ! " she
exclaimed to herself, hesitating a moment in doubt
what to do.
The fatal documents seemed almost uncanny. Their
very presence frightened her. What should she do ?
She seized the telephone and eagerly called Ken-
*' Hello," answered a voice.
'^ Is that you, Craig?" she asked excitedly.
" No, this is Mr. Jameson."
'' Oh, Mr. Jameson, I've discovered the Clutching
Hand papers," she began, more and more excited.
'' Have you read them ? " came back the voice
^' No — shall I?"
'' Then don't unseal them," cautioned the voice.
'' Put them back exactly as you found them and I'll
tell Mr. Kennedy the moment I can get hold of him."
"All right," nodded Elaine. "Til do that. And
please get him — as soon as you possibly can."
THE HIDDEN VOICE 149
'' I will."
*' Fm going out shopping now/' she returned, sud-
denly. " But, tell him I'll be back — right away."
" Very well."
Hanging up the receiver, Elaine dutifully replaced
the papers in the box and returned the box to its se-
cret hiding place, pressing the spring and sliding the
A few minutes later she left the house in the Dodge
Outside our laboratory, leaning up against a rail-
ing, Dan the Dude, an emissary of the Clutching Hand,
whose dress now greatly belied his underworld '' mon-
niker," had been shadowing us, w^atching to see when
The moment we disappeared, he raised his hand
carefully above his head and made the sign of the
•Clutching Hand. Far down the street, in a closed car,
the Clutching Hand himself, his face masked, gave
an answering sign.
A moment later he left the car, gazing about stealth-
ily. Not a soul was in sight and he managed to
make his way to the door of our laboratory without
being observed. Then he opened it with a pass key
which he must have obtained in some way by working
the janitor or the university officials.
Probably he thought that the papers might be at
the laboratory, for he had repeatedly failed to locate
them at the Dodge house. At any rate he was busily
engaged in ransacking drawers and cabinets in the
laboratory, when the telephone suddenly rang. He
150 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
did not want to answer it, but if it kept on ringing
someone outside might come in.
An instant he hesitated. Then, disguising his voice
as much as he could to imitate mine, he took off the
" Hello ! " he answered.
His face was a study in all that was dark as he
realized that it was Elaine calling. He clenched his
crooked hand even more viciously.
'' Have you read them ? '' he asked, curbing his im-
patience as she unsuspectingly poured forth her story,
supposedly to me.
" Then don't unseal them," he hastened to reply.
" Put them back. Then there can be no question about
them. You can open them before witnesses."
For a moment he paused, then added, '' Put them
back and tell no one of their discovery. I will tell
Mr. Kennedy the moment I can get him."
A smile spread over his sinister face as Elaine con-
fided in him her intention to go shopping.
'' A rather expensive expedition for you, young
lady," he muttered to himself as he returned the re-
ceiver to the hook.
Clutching Hand lost no further time at the labora-
tory. He had thus, luckily for him, found out what he
wanted. The papers were not there after all, but at
the Dodge house.
Suppose she should really be gone on only a short
shopping trip and should return to find that she had
been fooled over the wire? Quickly, he went to the
" Hello, Dan," he called when he got his number.
THE HIDDEN VOICE 151
*' Miss Dodge is going shopping. I want you and the
other Falsers to follow her — delay her all you can.
Use your own judgment."
It was what had come to be known in his organiza-
tion as the '' Brotherhood of Falsers.'' There, in the
back room of a low dive, were Dan the Dude, the
emissary who had been loitering about the laboratory,
a gunman. Dago Alike, a couple of women, slatterns,
one known as Kitty the Hawk, and a boy of eight or
ten, whom they called Billy. Before them stood large
schooners of beer, while the precocious youngster
grumbled over milk.
'' All right, Chief,'' shouted back Dan, their leader
as he hung up the telephone after noting carefully the
hasty instructions. '' We'll do it — trust us."
The others, knowing that a job was to lighten the
monotony of existence, gathered about him.
They listened intently as he detailed to them the
orders of the Clutching Hand, hastily planning out the
campaign like a division commander disposing his
forces in battle and assigning each his part.
With alacrity the Brotherhood went their separate
Elaine had not been gone long from the house when
Craig and I arrived there. She had followed the tele-
phone instructions of the Clutching Hand and had told
*' Too bad," greeted Jennings, '' but Miss Elaine has
just gone shopping and I don't know when she'll be
Shopping being an uncertain element as far as time
152 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
was concerned, Kennedy asked if anyone else was at
'' Mrs. Dodge is in the Hbrary reading, sir,'' repHed
Jennings, taking it for granted that we would see her.
Aunt Josephine greeted us cordially and Craig set
down the vocaphone package he was carrying.
She nodded to Jennings to leave us and he withdrew.
'' Fm not going to let anything happen here to Miss
Elaine again if I can help it," remarked Craig in a
low tone, a moment later, gazing about the library.
"What are you thinking of doing?" asked Aunt
'' I'm going to put in a vocaphone," he returned un-
"What's that?" she asked.
" A loud speaking telephone — connected with my
laboratory," he explained, repeating what he had al-
ready told me, while she listened almost awe-struck at
the latest scientific wonder.
He was looking about, trying to figure out just where
it could be placed to best advantage, when he ap-
proached the suit of armor.
" I see you have brought it back and had it re-
paired," he remarked to Aunt Josephine. Suddenly
his face lighted up. " Ah — an idea ! " he exclaimed.
" No one will ever think to look inside that."
It was indeed an inspiration. Kennedy worked
quickly now, placing the little box inside the breast
plate of the ancient armourer with the top of the in-
strument projecting right up into the helmet. It was
a strange combination — the medieval and the ultra-
" Now, Mrs. Dodge," he said finally, as he had com-
THE HIDDEN VOICE 153
pleted installing the thing and hiding the wire under
carpets and rugs until it ran out to the connection
which he made with the telephone, '' don't breathe a
word of it — to anyone. We don't know who to trust
'' I shall not/' she answered, by this time thoroughly
educated in the value of silence.
Kennedy looked at his watch.
'' IVe got an engagement with the telephone com-
pany, now," he said rather briskly, although I knew
that if Elaine had been there the company and every-
thing could have gone hang for the present. " Sorry
not to have seen Miss Elaine," he added as we bowed
ourselves out, '' but I think we've got her protected
" I hope so," sighed her aunt.
Elaine's car had stopped finally at a shop on Fifth
Avenue. She stepped out and entered, leaving her
chauffeur to wait.
As she did so, Dan and Billy sidled along the
'' There she is, Billy," pointed out Dan as Elaine
disappeared through the swinging doors of the shop.
*' Now, you wait right here," he instructed stealthily,
'' and w^hen she comes out — you know what to do.
Only, be careful."
Dan the Dude left Billy, and Billy surreptitiously
drew from under his coat a dirty half loaf of bread.
With a glance about, he dropped it into the gutter
close to the entrance to Elaine's car. Then he with-
drew a little distance.
When Elaine came out and approached her car,
154 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
Billy, looking as cold and forlorn as could be, shot
forward. Pretending to spy the dirty piece of bread
in the gutter, he made a dive for it, just as Elaine was
about to step into the car.
Elaine, surprised, drew back. Billy picked up the
piece of bread and, with all the actions of having dis-
covered a treasure, began to gnaw at it voraciously.
Shocked at the disgusting sight, she tried to take the
bread away from him.
'^I know it's dirty, Miss," whimpered Billy, "but
it's the first food IVe seen for four days."
Instantly Elaine was full of sympathy. She had
taken the food away. That would not suffice.
'' What's your name, little boy ? " she asked.
" Billy," he replied, blubbering.
" Where do you live? "
" With me mother and father — they're sick — '
nothing to eat — "
He was whimpering an address far over on the East
'' Get into the car," Elaine directed.
" Gee — but this is swell," he cried, with no fake,
On they went, through the tenement canyons, dodg-
ing children and pushcarts, stopping first at a grocer's,
then at a butcher's and a delicatessen. Finally the car
stopped where Billy directed. Billy hobbled out, fol-
lowed by Elaine and her chauffeur, his arms piled
high with provisions. She was indeed a lovely Lady
Bountiful as a crowd of kids quickly surrounded the
In the meantime Dago Mike and Kitty the Hawk
had gone to a wretched flat, before which Billy stopped.
THE HIDDEN VOICE 155
Kitty sat on the bed, putting dark circles under her
eyes with a blackened cork. She was very thin and
emaciated, but it was dissipation that had done it.
Dago Mike was correspondingly poorly dressed.
He had paused beside the window to look out.
** She's coming," he announced finally.
Kitty hastily jumped into the rickety bed, while
Mike took up a crutch that was standing idly in a
corner. She coughed resignedly and he limped about,
forlorn. They had assumed their parts which were
almost to the burlesque of poverty, when the door was
pushed open and Billy burst in followed by Elaine and
'' Oh, ma — oh, pa," he cried running forward and
kissing his pseudo-parents, as Elaine, overcome with
sympathy, directed the chauffeur to lay the things on
a shaky table.
*' God bless you, lady, for a benevolent angel ! "
muttered the pair, to which Elaine responded by mov-
ing over to the wretched bed and bending down to
stroke the forehead of the sick woman.
Billy and Mike exchanged a sly wink.
Just then the door opened again. All were genu-
inely surprised this time, for a prim, spick and span,
middle-aged woman entered.
'' I am Miss Statistix, of the organized charities,''
she announced, looking around sharply. " I saw your
car standing outside. Miss, and the children below told
me you were up here. I came up to see whether you
were aiding really deserving poor."
She laid a marked emphasis on the word, pursing
tip her lips. There was no mistaking the apprehen-
sion that these fine birds of prey had of her, either.
156 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
Miss Statistix took a step forward, looking in a very
superior manner from Elaine to the packages of food
and then at these prize members of the Brotherhood.
She snorted contemptuously.
" Why — wh-what's the matter ? " asked Elaine,
fidgeting uncomfortably, as if she were herself guilty,
in the icy atmosphere that now seemed to envelope
'' This man is a gunman, that woman is a bad woman,
the boy is Billy the Bread-Snatcher," she answered
precisely, drawing out a card on which to record some-
thing, '* and you. Miss, are a fool ! ''
" Ya ! " snarled the two precious f alsers, " get out
There was no combating Miss Statistix. She over-
whelmed all arguments by the very exactness of her'
'' You get out ! " she countered.
Kitty and Mike, accompanied by Billy, sneaked out.
Elaine, now very much embarrassed, looked about,
wondering at the rapid-fire change. Miss Statistix
" Such innocence ! '' she murmured sadly shaking
her head as she lead Elaine to the door. '' Don't you
know better than to try to help anybody without in-
Elaine departed, speechless, properly squelched, fol-
lowed by her chauffeur.
3 • • • • • • •
Meanwhile, a closed car, such as had stood across
from the laboratory, had drawn up not far from the
Dodge house. Near it was a man in rather shabby
clothes and a visored cap on which were the words
THE HIDDEN VOICE 157
in dull gold lettering, *'' ^Metropolitan Window Clean-
ing Co." He carried a bucket and a small extension
In the darkened recesses of the car was the Clutch-
ing Hand himself, masked as usual. He had his watch
in his hand and was giving most minute instructions
to the window cleaner about something. As the lat-
ter turned to go, a sharp obsen'er would have noted
that it was Dan the Dude, still further disguised.
A few moments later, Dan appeared at the serv-
ants' entrance of the Dodge house and rang the bell.
Jennings, who happened to be down there, came to
"' ^lan to clean the windows/' saluted the bogus
cleaner, touching his hat in a way quietly to call at-
tention to the words on it and drawing from his pocket
a faked written order.
'' All right," nodded Jennings examining the order
and finding it apparently all right.
Dan followed him in, taking the ladder and bucket
upstairs, where Aunt Josephine was still reading.
" The man to clean the windows, ma'am," apolo-
'' Oh, ver}^ well," she nodded, taking up her book,
to go. Then, recalling the frequent injunctions of
Kennedy, she paused long enough to speak quietly to
'' Stay here and watch him," she whispered as she
Jennings nodded, while Dan opened a window and
set to work.
Elaine had scarcely started again in her car down
158 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
the crowded narrow street. From her position she
could not possibly have seen Johnnie, another of the
Brotherhood, watching her eagerly up the street.
But as her car approached, Johnnie, with great de-
termination, pulled himself together and ran forward
across the street. She saw that.
^' Oh ! " she screamed, her heart almost stopping.
He had fallen directly in front of the wheels of the
car, apparently, and although the chaufifeur stopped
with a jolt, it seemed that the boy had been run over.
They jumped out. There he was, sure enough,
under the very wheels. People came running now in
all directions and lifted him up, groaning piteously.
He seemed literally twisted into a knot which looked
as if every bone in his body was broken or dislocated.
Elaine was overcome. For, following their natural
instincts the crowd began pushing in with cries of
*' Lynch the driver ! " It would have gone hard with
him, too, if she had not interfered.
" Here ! " cried Elaine, stepping in. " It wasn't his
fault. The boy ran across the street right in front
of the car. Now — we're just going to rush this boy
to the hospital — right away ! "
She lifted Johnnie gently into the car herself and
they drove off, to a very vigorous blowing of the
A few moments later they pulled up before the am-
bulance entrance to the hospital.
'' Quick ! '' beckoned Elaine to the attendants, who
ran out and carried Johnnie, still a complicated knot
of broken bones, inside.
In the reception room were a couple of nurses and
a young medical student, when Johnnie was carried in
THE HIDDEN VOICE 159
and laid on the bed. The student, more interested in
Elaine than the boy, examined him. His face wore
a puzzled look and there was every reason to believe
that Johnnie was seriously injured.
At that moment the door opened and an elderly,
gray-bearded house physician entered. The others
stepped back from the bed respectfully. He advanced
and examined Johnnie.
The doctor looked at the boy a moment, then at
*' I will now effect a miraculous cure by the laying
on of hands,'' he announced, adding quickly, '' — and
of feet ! "
To the utter surprise of all he seized the boy by the
coat collar, lifting him up and actually bouncing him
on the floor. Then he picked him up, shook him and
ran him out of the room, delivering one last kick as
he went through the door. By the way Johnnie went,
it was quite evident that he was no more injured than
the chauffeur. Elaine did not know whether to be
angry or to laugh, but finally joined in the general
" That was Double-Jointed Johnnie,'' puft'ed the
doctor, as he returned to them, '' one of the greatest
accident fakers in the city."
Elaine, having had two unfortunate experiences
during the day, now decided to go home and the doc-
tor politely escorted her to her car.
From his closed car, the Clutching Hand gazed in-
tently at the Dodge house. He could see Dan on the
ladder, now washing the library window, his back to-
i6o THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
Dan turned slowly and made the sign of the hand.
Turning to his chauffeur, the master criminal spoke a
few words in a low tone and the driver hurried off.
A few minutes later the driver might have been seen
entering a near-by drug store and going into the tele-
phone booth. Without a moment's hesitation he called
up the Dodge house and Marie, Elaine's maid, an-
" Is Jennings there? " he asked. " Tell him a friend
wants to speak to him."
'* Wait a minute," she answered. '' I'll get him."
Marie went toward the library, leaving the telephone
off the hook. Dan was washing the windows, half
inside, half outside the house, while Jennings was try-
ing to be very busy, although it was apparent that he
was watching Dan closely.
'' A friend of yours wants to speak to you over the
telephone, Jennings," said Marie, as she came into the
The butler responded slowly, with a covert glance
No sooner had they gone, however, than Dan
climbed all the way into the room, ran to the door and
looked after them. Then he ran to the window.
Across and down the street, the Clutching Hand was
gazing at the house. He had seen Dan disappear and
suspected that the time had come.
Sure enough, there was the sign of the hand. He
hastily got out of the car and hurried up the street.
All this time the chauffeur was keeping Jennings busy
over the telephone with some trumped-up story.
As the master criminal came in by the ladder through
the open window, Dan was on guard, listening down
THE HIDDEN VOICE i6i
the hallway. A signal from Dan, and Clutching
Hand slid back of the portieres. Jennings was re-
^' Fve finished these windows/' announced Dan as
the butler reappeared. " NoWj I'll clean the hall win-
Jennings followed like a shadow, taking the bucket.
No sooner had they gone than Clutching Hand
stealthily came from behind the portieres.
One of the maids was sweeping in the hall as Dan
went toward the window, about to w^ash it.
'* I wonder w^hether I locked these windows ? " mut-
tered Jennings, pausing in the hallway. " I guess I'd
better make sure."
He had taken only a step toward the library again,
when Dan watchfully caught sight of him. It would
never do to have Jennings snooping around there now.
Quick action was necessary. Dan knocked over a
costly Sevres vase.
*' There — clumsy — see what you've done ! " be-
rated Jennings, starting to pick up the pieces.
Dan had acted his part well and promptly. In the
library, Clutching Hand was busily engaged at that
moment beside the secret panel searching for the spring
that released it. He ran his finger along the wood-
work, pausing here and there without succeeding.
"Confound it!" he muttered, searching feverishly.
Kennedy, having made the arrangements with the
telephone company by which he had a clear wire from
the Dodge house to his laboratory, had rejoined me
there and was putting on the finishing touches to his
installation of the vocaphone.
i62 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
Every now and then he would switch it on, and we
would listen in as he demonstrated the wonderful lit-
tle instrument to me. He had heard the window
cleaner and Jennings, but thought nothing of it at the
Once, however, Craig paused and I saw him listen-
ing more intently than usual.
" They've gone out," he muttered, '' but surely there
is someone in the Dodge library."
I listened, too. The thing was so sensitive that
even a whisper could be magnified and I certainly did
Kennedy frowned. What was that scratching noise?
Could it be Jennings ? Perhaps it was Rusty.
Just then we could distinguish a sound as though
someone had moved about.
" No — that's not Jennings," cried Craig. '' He
He looked at me a moment. The same stealthy
noise was repeated.
" It's the Clutching Hand ! " he exclaimed excitedly.
A moment later, Dan hurried into the Dodge li-
" For heaven's sake, Chief, hurry ! " he whispered
hoarsely. '' The falsers must have fallen down. The
girl herself is coming ! "
Dan himself had no time to waste. He retreated
into the hallway just as Jennings was opening the door
Marie took her wraps and left her, while Elaine
handed her numerous packages to Jennings. Dan
watched every motion.
THE HIDDEN VOICE 163
*' Put them away, Jennings/' she said softly.
Jennings had obeyed and gone upstairs. Elaine
moved toward the library. Dan took a quiet step or
two behind her, in the same direction.
In the library, Clutching Hand was now frantically
searching for the spring. He heard Elaine coming
and dodged behind the curtains again just as she en-
With a hasty look about, she saw no one. Then she
went quickly to the panel, found the spring, and pressed
it. So many queer things had happened to her since
she went out that she had begun to worry over the
safety of the papers.
The panel opened. They were there, all right.
She opened the box and took them out, hesitating to
break the seal before Kennedy arrived.
Stealthy and tiger-like the Clutching Hand crept up
behind her. As he did so, Dan gazed in through the
portieres from the hall.
With a spring, Clutching Hand leaped at Elaine,
snatching at the papers. Elaine clung to them tena-
ciously in spite of the surprise, and they struggled for
them, Clutching Hand holding one hand over her
mouth to prevent her screaming. Instantly Dan was
there, aiding his chief.
'' Choke her ! Strangle her ! Don't let her
scream ! " he ground out.
They fought viciously. Would they succeed? It
was two desperate, unscrupulous men against one frail
Suddenly, from the man in armor in the corner, as
if by a miracle came a deep, loud voice.
i64 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
'' Help ! Help ! Murder ! Police ! They are strangling
The effect was terrific.
Clutching Hand and Dan, hardened in crime as they
were, fell back, dazed, overcome for the moment at
the startling effect.
They looked about. Not a soul.
Then to their utter consternation, from the vizor of
the helmet again came the deep, vibrating warning.
" Help ! Murder ! Police ! "
Kennedy and I had been listening over the voca-
phone, for the moment non-plussed at the fellow's
Then we heard from the uncanny instrument, '' For
Heaven's sake, Chief, hurry! The falsers have fal-
len down. The girl herself is coming ! ''
What it meant we did not know. But Craig was al-
most beside himself, as he ordered me to try to get the
police by telephone, if there was any way to block
them. Only instant action would count, however.
What to do ?
He could hear the master criminal plainly fumbling,
'' Yes, that's the Clutching Hand," he repeated.
" Wait," I cautioned, '' someone else is coming ! "
By a sort of instinct he seemed to recognize the
" Elaine ! " he exclaimed, paling.
Instantly followed, in less time than I can tell it,
the sounds of a suppressed scuffle.
''He has seized her — gagged her," I cried in an
agony of suspense.
THE HIDDEN VOICE 165
We could now hear everything that was going on in
the Hbrary. Craig was wildly excited. As for me, I
was speechless. Here was the vocaphone we had in-
stalled. It had warned us. But what could we do?
I looked blankly at Kennedy. He was equal to the
He calmly turned a switch.
Then, at the top of his lungs, he shouted, ''Help!
Help ! Police ! They are strangling me ! "
I looked at him in amazement. What did he think
he could do — blocks away?
" It works both ways," he muttered. '' Help !
Murder ! Police ! "
We could hear the astounded cursing of the two
men. Also, down the hall, now, we could hear foot-
steps approaching in answer to his call for help —
Aunt Josephine, Jennings, Marie, and others, all
shouting out that there were cries in the library.
'' The deuce! What is it? " muttered a gruff voice.
" The man in armor ! '' hissed Clutching Hand.
'' Here they come, too. Chief ! "
There was a parting scuffle.
^^ There — take that!"
A loud metallic ringing came from the vocaphone.
What had happened
In the library, recovered from their first shock of
surprise, Dan cried out to the Clutching Hand, " The
deuce. What is it? "
Then, looking about. Clutching Hand quickly took
in the situation.
*' The man in armor ! " he pointed out.
i66 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
Dan was almost dead with fright at the weird thing.
'' Here they come, too, Chief/' he gasped, as, down
the hall he could hear the family shouting out that
someone was in the library.
With a parting thrust. Clutching Hand sent Elaine
She held on to only a corner of the papers. He
had the greater part of them. They were torn and
Finally, with all the venomousness of which he was
capable. Clutching Hand rushed at the armor suit,
drew back his gloved fist, and let it shoot out squarely
in a vicious solar plexus blow.
"There — take that!'' he roared.
The suit rattled, furiously. Out of it spilled the
vocaphone with a bang on the floor.
An instant later those in the hall rushed in. But
the Clutching Hand and Dan were gone out of the
window, the criminal carrying the greater part of
the precious papers.
Some ran to Elaine, others to the window. The
ladder had been kicked away and the criminals were
gone. Leaping into the waiting car, they had been
'' Hello ! Hello ! Hello ! " called a voice, appar-
ently from nowhere.
" What is that ? " cried Elaine, still blankly wonder-
She had risen by this time and was gazing about,
wondering at the strange voice. Suddenly her eye
fell on the armor scattered all over the floor. She
spied the little oak box.
THE HIDDEN VOICE 167
Apparently the voice came from that. Besides, it
had a famiHar ring to her ears.
'' Yes — Craig ! '' she cried.
'' This is my vocaphone — the little box that hears
and talks," came back to her. ''Are you all right?''
'' Yes — all right, — thanks to the vocaphone.''
She had understood in an instant. She seized the
helmet and breastplate to which the vocaphone still
was attached and was holding them close to herself.
Kennedy had been calling and listening intently over
the machine, wondering whether it had been put out of
business in some way.
'' It works — yet ! " he cried excitedly to me.
'' Elaine ! "
" Yes, Craig," came back over the faithful little in-
''Are you all right?"
"Yes — all right."
'' Thank heaven ! " breathed Craig, pushing me
Literally he kissed that vocaphone as if it had been
THE DEATH RAY
Kennedy was reading a scientific treatise one morn-
ing, while I was banging on the typewriter, when a
knock at the laboratory door disturbed us.
i68 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
By some intuition, Craig seemed to know who it
was. He sprang to open the door, and there stood
Elaine Dodge and her lawyer. Perry Bennett.
Instantly, Craig read from the startled look on
Elaine's face that something dreadful had happened.
''Why — what's the matter?" he asked, solici-
''A — another letter — from the Clutching Hand ! "
she exclaimed breathlessly. " Mr. Bennett was call-
ing on me, when this note was brought in. We both
thought we'd better see you at once about it and he
was kind enough to drive me here right away in his
Craig took the letter and we both read, with amaze-
" Are you an enemy of society? If not, order Craig
Kennedy to leave the country by nine o'clock to-mor-
row morning. Otherwise, a pedestrian will drop dead
outside his laboratory every hour until he leaves."
The note was signed by the now familiar sinister
hand, and had, added, a postcript, which read :
*' As a token of his leaving, have him place a vase
of flowers on his laboratory window to-day."
'' What shall we do ? " queried Bennett, evidently
very much alarmed at the threat.
" Do ? " replied Kennedy, laughing contemptuously
at the apparently futile threat, '' why, nothing. Just
The day proved uneventful and I paid no further at-
THE DEATH RAY 169
tention to the warning letter. It seemed too prepos-
terous to amount to anything.
Kennedy, however, with his characteristic foresight,
as I learned af-terwards, had not been entirely unpre-
pared, though he had affected to treat the thing with
His laboratory, I may say, was at the very edge of
the University buildings, with the campus back of it,
but opening on the other side on a street that was or-
dinarily not overcrowded.
We got up as usual the next day and, quite early,
went over to the laboratory. Kennedy, as was his
custom, plunged straightway into his work and ap-
peared absorbed by it, while I wrote.
'' There is something queer going on, Walter," he
remarked. " This thing registers some kind of wire-
less rays — infra-red, I think, — something like those
that they say that Italian scientist, Ulivl, claims he has
discovered and called the ' F-rays.' ''
'' How do you know? " I asked, looking up from my
work. ''What's that instrument you are using?''
" A bolometer, invented by the late Professor Lang-
ley," he replied, his attention riveted on it.
Some time previously, Kennedy had had installed
on the window ledge one of those mirror-like arrange-
ments, known as a '' busybody," which show those in
a room what is going on on the street.
As I moved over to look at the bolometer, I hap-
pened to glance into the busybody and saw that a crowd
was rapidly collecting on the sidewalk.
"Look, Craig!" I called hastily.
He hurried over to me and looked. We could both
see in the busybody mirror a group of excited pass-
170 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
ersby bending over a man lying prostrate on the side-
He had evidently been standing on the curbstone
outside the laboratory and had suddenly put his hand
to his forehead. Then he had literally crumpled up
into a heap, as he sank to the ground.
The excited crowd lifted him up and bore him away,
and I turned in surprise to Craig. He was looking at
It was now only a few moments past nine o'clock !
Not quarter of an hour later, our door was ex-
citedly flung open and Elaine and Perry Bennett ar-
'' Tve just heard of the accident," she cried, fear-
fully. '' Isn't it terrible. What had we better do ? "
For a few moments no one said a word. Then
Kennedy began carefully examining the bolometer and
some other recording instruments he had, while the
rest of us watched, fascinated.
Somehow that ^' busybody " seemed to attract me.
I could not resist looking into it from time to time as
I was scarcely able to control my excitement when,
again, I saw the same scene enacted on the sidewalk
before the laboratory. Hurriedly I looked at my
watch. It was ten o'clock!
" Craig ! " I cried. " Another ! "
Instantly he was at my side, gazing eagerly. There
was a second innocent pedestrian lying on the side-
walk while a crowd, almost panic-stricken, gathered
We watched, almost stunned by the suddenness of
THE DEATH RAY 171
the thing, until finally, without a word, Kennedy
turned away, his face set in tense lines.
'' It's no use,'' he muttered, as we gathered about
him. " We're beaten. I can't stand this sort of thing.
I will leave to-morrow for South America."
I thought Elaine Dodge would faint at the shock of
his words coming so soon after the terrible occurrence
outside. She looked at him, speechless.
It happened that Kennedy had some artificial flowers
on a stand, which he had been using long before in the
study of synthetic coloring materials. Before Elaine
could recover her tongue, he seized them and stuck
them into a tall beaker, like a vase. Then he deliber-
ately walked to the window and placed the beaker on
the ledge in a most prominent position.
Elaine and Bennett, to say nothing of myself, gazed
at him, awe-struck.
'' Is — is there no other way but to surrender ? "
Kennedy mournfully shook his head.
*' I'm afraid not," he answered slowly. " There's
no telling how far a fellow who has this marvellous
power might go. I think I'd better leave to save you.
He may not content himself with innocent outsiders
Nothing that any of us could say, not even the plead-
ings of Elaine herself could move him. The thought
that at eleven o'clock a third innocent passerby might
lie stricken on the street seemed to move him power-
When, at eleven, nothing happened as it had at the
other two hours, he was even more confirmed in his
purpose. Entreaties had no eflfect, and late in the
172 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
morning, he succeeded in convincing us all that his
purpose was irrevocable.
As we stood at the door, mournfully bidding our
visitors farewell until the morrow, when he had de-
cided to sail, I could see that he was eager to be alone.
He had been looking now and then at the peculiar
instrument which he had been studying earlier in the
day and I could see on his face a sort of subtle in-
'' I'm so sorry — Craig," murmured Elaine, choking
back her emotion, and finding it impossible to go on.
" So am I, Elaine," he answered, tensely. " But —
perhaps — when this trouble blows over — "
He paused, unable to speak, turned, and shook his
head. Then with a forced gaiety he bade Elaine and
Perry Bennett adieu, saying that perhaps a trip might
do him good.
They had scarcely gone out and Kennedy closed the
door carefully, when he turned and went directly to
the instrument which I had seen him observing so in-
Plainly, I could see that it was registering some-
"What's the matter?" I asked, non-plussed.
" Just a moment, Walter," he replied evasively, as if
not quite sure of himself.
He walked fairly close to the window this time,
keeping well out of the direct line of it, however, and
there stood gazing out into the street.
A glint, as if of the sun shining on a pair of opera
glasses could be seen from a window across the way.
*' We are being watched," he said slowly, turning and
THE DEATH RAY 173
looking at me fixedly, '^ but I don't dare investigate
lest it cost the lives of more unfortunates.''
He stood for a moment in deep thought. Then he
pulled out a suitcase and began silently to pack it.
Although we had not dared to investigate, we knew
that from a building, across the street, emissaries of
the Clutching Hand were watching for our signal of
The fact was, as we found out later, that in a poorly
furnished room, much after the fashion of that which,
with the help of the authorities, we had once raided
in the suburbs, there were at that moment two crooks.
One of them was the famous, or rather the infamous,
Professor LeCroix, with whom in a disguise as a doc-
tor we had already had some experience when he stole
from the Hillside Sanitarium the twilight sleep drugs.
The other was the young secretary of the Clutching
Hand who had given the warning at the suburban
headquarters at the time when they were endeavoring
to tranfuse Elaine Dodge's blood to save the life of
the crook whom she had shot.
This was the new headquarters of the master crim-
inal, very carefully guarded.
" Look ! " cried LeCroix, very much elated at the
effect that had been produced by his infra-red rays,
^' There is the sign — the vase of flowers. We have
got him this time ! "
LeCroix gleefully patted a peculiar instrument be-
side him. Apparently it was a combination of power-
ful electric arcs, the rays of which were shot through
a funnel-like arrangement into a converter or, rather,
a sort of concentration apparatus from which the dread
174 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
power could be released through a tube-like affair at
one end. It was his infra-red heat wave, F-ray, en-
'' I told you — it would work ! '' cried LeCroix.
I did not argue any further with Craig about his
sudden resolution to go away. But it is a very solemn
proceeding to pack up and admit defeat after such a
brilliant succession of cases as had been his until we
met this master criminal.
He was unshakeable, however, and the next morning
we closed the laboratory and loaded our baggage,
which was considerable, on a taxicab.
Neither of us said much, but I saw a quick look of
appreciation on Craig's face as w^e pulled up at the
wharf and saw that the Dodge car was already there.
He seemed deeply moved that Elaine should come at
such an early hour to have a last word.
Our cab stopped and Kennedy moved over toward
her car, directing two porters, whom I noticed that he
chose with care, to wait at one side. One of them
was an old Irishman with a slight limp; the other a
wiry Frenchman with a pointed beard.
In spite of her pleadings, however, Kennedy held
to his purpose and, as we shook hands for the last
time, I thought that Elaine would almost break down.
'' Here, you fellows, now," directed Craig, turning
brusquely to the porters, " hustle that baggage right
'' Can't we go on the ship, too ? " asked Elaine, ap-
" I'm sorry — I'm afraid there isn't time," apolo-
THE DEATH RAY 175
We finally tore ourselves away, followed by the
porters carrying as much as they could.
'' Bon voyage ! " cried Elaine, bravely keeping back
a choke in her voice.
Near the gangplank, in the crowd, I noticed a cou-
ple of sinister faces watching the ship's officers and
the passengers going aboard. Kennedy's quick eye
spotted them, too, but he did not show in any way
that he noticed anything as, followed by our two
porters, we quickly climbed the gangplank.
A moment Craig paused by the rail and waved to
Elaine and Bennett who returned the salute feelingly.
I paused at the rail, too, speculating how we were to
get the rest of our baggage aboard in time, for we
had taken several minutes saying good-bye.
" In there," pointed Kennedy quickly to the porters,
indicating our stateroom which was an outside room.
" Come, Walter.''
I followed him in with a heavy heart.
Outside could be seen the two sinister faces in the
crowd watching intently, with eyes fixed on the state-
room. Finally one of the crooks boarded the ship
hastily, while the other watched the two porters come
out of the stateroom and pause at the window, speak-
ing back into the room as though answering com-
Then the porters quickly ran along the deck and
down the plank, to get the rest of the luggage. As
they approached the Dodge car, Elaine, Aunt Joseph-
ine and Perry Bennett were straining their eyes to
catch a last glimpse of us.
The porters took a small but very heavy box and,
176 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
lugging and tugging, hastened toward the boat with it.
But they were too late. The gang plank was being
They shouted, but the ship's officers waved them
'' Too late ! " one of the deckhands shouted, a little
pleased to see that someone would be inconvenienced
The porters argued. But it was no use. All they
could do was to carry the box back to the Dodge car.
Miss Dodge was just getting in as they returned.
" What shall we do with this and the other stuff ? "
asked the Irish porter.
She looked at the rest of the tagged luggage and the
box which was marked:
Handle with care.
" Here — pile them in here," she said indicating the
taxicab. '' I'll take charge of them."
Meanwhile one of our sinister faced friends had
just had time to regain the shore after following us
aboard ship and strolling past the window of our state-
room. He paused long enough to observe one of the
occupants studying a map, while the other was opening
'' They're gone ! " he said to the other as he rejoined
him on the dock, giving a nod of his head and a jerk
of his thumb at the ship.
" Yes," added the other crook, '' and lost most of
their baggage, too."
THE DEATH RAY 177
Slowly the Dodge car proceeded through the streets
up from the river front, followed by the taxicab, until
at last the Dodge mansion, was reached.
There Elaine and Aunt Josephine got out and Ben-
nett stood talking with them a moment. Finally he
excused himself reluctantly for it was now late, even
for a lawyer, to get to his office.
As he hurried over to the subway, Elaine nodded
to the porters in the taxicab, '' Take that stuff in the
house. We'll have to send it by the next boat."
Then she followed Aunt Josephine while the porters
unloaded the boxes and bags.
Elaine sighed moodily as she walked slowly in.
*' Here, ]\Iarie," she cried petulantly to her maid,
'' take these wraps of mine.''
Marie ventured no remark, but, like a good servant,
A moment later Aunt Josephine left her and Elaine
went into the library and over to a table. She stood
there an instant, then sank down into a chair, taking
up Kennedy's picture and gazing at it with eyes filled
Just then Jennings came into the room, ushering the
two porters laden with the boxes and bags.
'' Where shall I have them put these things. Miss
Elaine ? " he inquired.
'' Oh — anywhere," she answered hurriedly, replac-
ing the picture.
Jennings paused. As he did so, one of the porters
" I've a message for you. Miss," he said in a rich
Irish brogue, wdth a look at Jennings, '' to be delivered
178 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
Elaine glanced at him surprised. Then she nodded
to Jennings who disappeared. As he did so, the Irish-
man limped to the door and drew together the por-
Then he came back closer to Elaine.
A moment she looked at him, not quite knowing
from his strange actions whether to call for help or
At a motion from Kennedy, as he pulled off his wig,
I pulled off the little false beard.
Elaine looked at us, transformed, startled.
''Wh — what— " she stammered. "Oh — I'm —
so — glad. How — ''
Kennedy said nothing. He was thoroughly enjoy-
ing her face.
'' Don't you understand ? " I explained, laughing
merrily. '' I admit that I didn't until that last min-
ute in the stateroom on the boat when we didn't come
back to wave a last good-bye. But all the care that
Craig took in selecting the porters was the result of
work he did yesterday, and the insistence with which
he chose our travelling clothes had a deep-laid pur-
She said nothing, and I continued.
" The change was made quickly in the stateroom.
Kennedy's man threw on the coat and hat he wore,
while Craig donned the rough clothes of the porter and
added a limp and a wig. The same sort of exchange
of clothes was made by me and Craig clapped a Van
Dyck beard on my thin."
"I — I'm so glad," she repeated. " I didn't think
THE DEATH RAY 179
She cut the sentence short, remembering her eyes
and the photograph as we entered, and a deep blush
crimsoned her face.
'' Mum's the word," cautioned Kennedy, '' You must
smuggle us out of the house, some way/'
Kennedy lost no time in confirming the suspicions
of his bolometer as to the cause of the death of the
two innocent victims of the machinations of the
Both of them, he had learned, had been removed to
a nearby undertaking shop, awaiting the verdict of the
coroner. We sought out the shop and prevailed on
the undertaker to let us see the bodies.
As Kennedy pulled down the shroud from the face
of the first victim, he disclosed on his forehead a
round dark spot about the size of a small coin.
Quickly, he moved to the next coffin and, uncovering
the face, disclosed a similar mark.
** What is it?'' I asked, awestruck.
" Why," he said, " IVe heard of a certain Viennese,
one LeCroix I believe, who has discovered or per-
fected an infra-red ray instrument which shoots its
power a great distance with extreme accuracy and
leaves a mark like these."
*' Is he in New York ? " I inquired anxiously.
" Yes, I believe he is."
Kennedy seemed indisposed to answer more until
he knew more, and I saw that he would prefer not be-
ing questioned for the present.
We thanked the undertaker for his courtesy and
i8o THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
Meanwhile Elaine had called up Perry Bennett.
*' Mr. Bennett," she exclaimed over the wire, " just
guess who called on me ? "
" Who ? " he answered, " I give it up."
" Mr. Kennedy and Mr. Jameson," she called back.
"Is that so?" he returned. ''Isn't that fine? I
didn't think he was the kind to run away like that.
How did it happen ? "
Elaine quickly told the story as I had told her.
Had she known it, however, Bennett's valet, Thomas,
was at that very moment listening at the door, in-
As Bennett hung up the receiver, Thomas entered
*' If anyone calls me," ordered Bennett, " take the
message, particularly if it is from Miss Dodge. I
must get downtown — and tell her after I finish my
court work for the day I shall be right up."
" Yes sir," nodded the valet with a covert glance at
Then, as Bennett left, he followed him to the door,
paused, thought a moment, then, as though coming to a
sudden decision, went out by an opposite door.
It was not long afterward that a knock sounded at
the door of the new headquarters of the Clutching
Hand. LeCroix and the secretary were there, as well
as a couple of others.
" The Chief ! " exclaimed one.
The secretary opened the door, and, sure enough, the
Clutching Hand entered.
''Well, how did your infra-red rays work?" he
THE DEATH RAY i8i
" And they're gone ? "
" Yes. The flowers were in the window yesterday.
Two of our men saw them on the boat/'
There came another knock. This time, as the door
opened, it was Thomas, Bennett's faithless valet, who
'' Say," blurted out the informer, " do you know
Kennedy and Jameson are back ? "
''Back?" cried the crooks.
'' Yes, — they didn't go. Changed clothes with the
porters. I just heard Miss Dodge telling Mr. Ben-
Clutching Hand eyed him keenly, then seemed to
burst into an ungovernable fury.
Quickly he began volleying orders at the valet and
the others. Then, with the secretary and two of the
other crooks he left by another door from that by
which he had sent the valet forth.
Leaving the undertaker's, Kennedy and I made our
way, keeping oflf thoroughfares, to police headquarters,
where, after making ourselves known, Craig made ar-
rangements for a raid on the house across the street
from the laboratory where we had seen the opera glass
Then, as secretly as we had come, we went out
again, letting ourselves into the laboratory, stealthily
looking up and down the street. We entered by a
basement door, which Kennedy carefully locked again.
No sooner had we disappeared than one of the
Clutching Hand's spies who had been watching behind
a barrel of rubbish gave the signal of the hand down
i82 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
the street to a confederate and, going to the door, en-
tered by means of a skeleton key.
We entered our laboratory which Kennedy had
closed the day before. With shades drawn, it now
looked deserted enough.
I dropped into a chair and lighted a cigarette with a
sigh of relief, for really I had thought, until the boat
sailed, that Kennedy actually contemplated going away.
Kennedy went over to a cabinet and, from it, took
out a notebook and a small box. Opening the note-
book on the laboratory table, he rapidly turned the
" Here, Walter," he remarked. " This will answer
your questions about the mysterious deadly ray.''
I moved over to the table, eager to satisfy my curios-
ity and read the notes which he indicated with his
INFRA-RED RAY NOTES
The infra-red ray which has been developed by
LeCroix from the experiments of the Italian scientist
Ulivi causes, when concentrated by an apparatus per-
fected by LeCroix, an instantaneous combustion of
nonreflecting surfaces. It is particularly deadly in its
effect on the brain centers.
It can be diverted, it is said however, by a shield
composed of platinum backed by asbestos.
Next Kennedy opened the case which he had taken
out of the cabinet and from it he took out the platinum-
asbestos mirror, which was something of his own in-
vention. He held it up and in pantomime showed me
just how it would cut off the deadly rays.
THE DEATH RAY 183
He had not finished even that, when a peculiar noise
in the laboratory itself disturbed him and he hastily-
thrust the asbestos platinum shield into his pocket.
Though we had not realized it, our return had been
Suddenly, from a closet projected a magazine gun
and before we could move, the Clutching Hand himself
slowly appeared, behind us.
'' Ah ! '' he exclaimed with mock politeness, " so, you
thought you'd fool me, did you? Well! "
Just then, two other crooks, who had let themselves
in by the skeleton key through the basement jumped
into the room through that door covering us.
We started to our feet, but in an instant found our-
selves both sprawling on the floor.
In the cabinet, beneath the laboratory table, another
crook had been hidden and he tackled us with all the
skill of an old football player against whom we had
Four of them were upon us instantly.
At the same time, Thomas, the faithless valet of
Bennett, had been dispatched by the Clutching Hand
to commandeer his master's roadster in his absence,
and, carrying out the instructions, he had driven up
before Elaine's house at the very moment when she
w^as going out for a walk.
Thomas jumped out of the car and touched his hat
" A message from ]\Ir. Bennett, ma'am/' he ex-
plained. '' ]\Ir. Kennedy and Mr. Bennett have sent
me to ask you to come over to the laborator}^"
i84 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
Unsuspecting, Elaine stepped into the car and drove
Instead, however, of turning and pulHng up on the
laboratory side of the street, Thomas stopped opposite
it. He got out and Elaine, thinking that perhaps it was
to save time that he had not turned the car around,
But when the valet, instead of crossing the street,
went up to a door of a house and rang the bell, she
began to suspect that all was not as it should be.
*' What are you going here for, Thomas ? " she asked.
'* There's the laboratory — over there."
" But, Miss Dodge," he apologized, " Mr. Kennedy
and Mr. Bennett are here. They told me they'd be
The door was opened quickly by a lookout of the
Clutching Hand and the valet asked if Craig and
Elaine's lawyer were in. Of course the lookout re-
plied that they were and, before Elaine knew it, she
was jostled into the dark hallway and the door was
Resistance was useless now and she was hurried
along until another door was opened.
There she saw LeCroix and the other crooks.
And, as the door slammed, she caught sight of the
fearsome Clutching Hand himself.
She drew back, but was too frightened even to
With a harsh, cruel laugh, the super-criminal beck-
oned to her to follow him and look down through a
small trap door.
Unable now to resist, she looked.
There she saw us. To that extent the valet had told
I happened to look up and caught a glance of horror on Craig's face
THE DEATH RAY 185
the truth. Kennedy was standing in deep thought,
while I sat on an old box, smoking a cigarette — very
Was this to be the sole outcome of Kennedy's clever
ruse, I was wondering. Were we only to be ship-
wrecked in sight of port?
Watching his chance, w^hen the street was deserted,
the Clutching Hand and his followers had hustled us
over to the new hangout across from the laboratory.
There they had met more crooks and had thrust us into
this vile hole.
As the various ineffectual schemes for escape surged
through my head, I happened to look up and caught
a glance of horror on Craig's face. I followed his
eyes. There, above us, was Elaine !
I saw her look from us to the Clutching Hand in
terror. But none of us uttered a word.
" I will now show you, my dear young lady," al-
most hissed the Clutching Hand at length, '' as pretty
a game of hide and seek as you have ever seen.''
As he said it, another trap door near the infra-red
ray machine was opened and a beam of light burst
through. I knew it was not that which we had to
fear, but the invisible rays that accompanied it, the rays
that had affected the bolometer.
Just then a spot of light showed near my foot, mov-
ing about the cement floor until it fell on my shoe. In-
stantly, the leather charred, even before I could move.
Kennedy and I leaped to our feet and drew back.
The beam followed us. We retreated further. Still it
Clutching Hand w^as now holding Elaine near the
i86 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
door where she could not help seeing, laughing diaboli-
cally while he directed LeCroix and the rest to work
the infra-red ray apparatus through the trap.
As we dodged from corner to corner, endeavoring to
keep the red ray from touching us, the crooks seemed
in no hurry, but rather to enjoy prolonging the torture
as does a cat with a mouse.
'' Please — oh, please — stop ! " begged Elaine.
Clutching Hand only laughed with fiendish delight
and urged his men on.
The thing was getting closer and closer.
Suddenly we heard a strange voice ring out above
" Police ! "
"' Where ? " growled the Clutching Hand in fury.
' " Outside — a raid ! Run ! He's told them ! ''
Already we could hear the hammers and axes of the
police whom Kennedy had called upon before, as they
battered at the outside door.
At that door a moment before, the lookout suddenly
had given a startled stare and a suppressed cry.
Glancing down the street he had seen a police patrol
in which were a score or more of the strongarm squad.
They had jumped out, some carrying sledgehammers,
Almost before he could cry out and retreat to give
a warning, they had reached the door and the first re-
sounding blows had been struck.
The lookout quickly had fled and drawn the bolts
of a strong inner door, and the police began battering
Instantly, Clutching Hand turned to LeCroix at the
THE DEATH RAY 187
" Finish them ! '' he shouted.
We were now backed up against a small ell in the
wall of the cellar. It was barely large enough to hold
us, but by crowding we were able to keep out of the
reach of the ray. The ray shot past the ell and struck
a wall a couple of inches from us.
I looked. The cement began to crumble under the
Meanwhile, the police were having great difficulty
with the steelbolt-studded door into the room. Still, it
was yielding a bit.
'' Hurry ! " shouted Clutching Hand to LeCroix.
Kennedy had voluntarily placed himself in front of
me in the ell. Carefully, to avoid the ray, he took the
asbestos-platinum shield from his pocket and slid it
forward as best he could over the wall to the spot
where the ray struck.
It deflected the ray.
But so powerful was it that even that part of the
ray which was deflected could be seen to strike the ceil-
ing in the comer which was of wood. Instantly, be-
fore Kennedy could even move the shield, the wood
burst into flames.
Above us now smoke was pouring into the room
where the deflected ray struck the floor and flames
''Confound him!" ground out Clutching Hand, as
they saw it.
The other crooks backed away and stood, hesitating,
not knowing quite what to do.
The police had by this time finished battering in the
door and had rushed into the outer passage.
i88 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
While the flames leaped up, the crooks closed the
last door into the room.
'' Run ! " shouted Clutching Hand, as they opened a
secret gate disclosing a spiral flight of iron steps.
A moment later all had disappeared except Clutch-
ing Hand himself. The last door would hold only a
few seconds, but Clutching Hand was waiting to take
advantage of even that. With a last frantic effort he
sought to direct the terrific ray at us. Elaine acted in-
stantly. With all her strength she rushed forward,
overturning the machine.
Clutching Hand uttered a growl and slowly raised
his gun, taking aim with the butt for a well-directed
blow at her head.
Just then the door yielded and a policeman stuck his
head and shoulders through. His revolver rang out
and Clutching Hand's automatic flew out of his grasp,
giving him just enough time to dodge through and
slam the secret door in the faces of the squad as they
Back of the house, Clutching Hand and the other
crooks were now passing through a bricked passage.
The fire had got so far beyond control by this time
that it drove the police back from their efforts to
open the secret door. Thus the Clutching Hand had
made good his escape through the passage which led
out, as we later discovered, to the railroad tracks along
'' Down there — Mr. Kennedy — and Mr. Jameson,"
cried Elaine, pointing at the trap which was hidden in
The fire had gained terrific headway, but the police
seized a ladder and stuck it down into the basement.
THE DEATH RAY 189
Choking and sputtering, half suffocated, we stag-
" Are you hurt ? " asked Elaine anxiously, taking
" Not a bit — thanks to you ! " he replied, forgetting
all in meeting the eager questioning of her wonderful
THE LIFE CURRENT
Assignments were being given out on the Star
one afternoon, and I was standing talking with several
other reporters^ in the busy hum of typewriters and
'* What do you think of that ? " asked one of the
fellows. " You're something of a scientific detective,
aren't you ? "
Without laying claim to such a distinction, I took
the paper and read :
THE POISONED KISS AGAIN
Three More New York Women Report Being Kissed
by Mysterious Stranger — Later Fell into Deep
Unconsciousness. What Is It?
I had scarcely finished, when one of the copy boys,
dashing past me, called, '' You're wanted on the wire,
I hurried over to the telephone and answered,.
I90 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
A musical voice responded to my hurried hello, and
I hastened to adopt my most polite tone.
" Is this Mr. Jameson ? " asked the voice.
^* Yes," I replied, not recognizing it.
^' Well, Mr. Jameson, IVe heard of you on the Star
and IVe just had a very strange experience. Tve had
the poisoned kiss.''
The woman did not pause to catch my exclamation
of astonishment, but went on, '* It was like this. A
man ran up to me on the street and kissed me — and
— I don't know how it was — but I became uncon-
scious — and I didn't come to for an hour — in a
hospital — fortunately. I don't know what would
have happened if it hadn't been that someone came to
my assistance and the man fled. I thought the Star
would be interested."
" We are," I hastened to reply. " Will you give me
your name ? "
'' Why, I am Mrs. Florence Leigh of number 20
Prospect Avenue," returned the voice. " Really, Mr.
Jameson, something ought to be done about these
" It surely had," I assented, with much interest, writ-
ing her name eagerly down on a card. " I'll be out to
interview you, directly."
The woman thanked me and I hung up the re-
" Say," I exclaimed, hurrying over to the editor's
desk, '' here's another woman on the wire who says
she has received the poisoned kiss.
^' Suppose you take that assignment/' the editor an-
swered, sensing a possible story.
THE LIFE CURRENT 191
I took it with alacrity, figuring out the quickest way
by elevated and surface car to reach the address.
The conductor of the trolley indicated Prospect
Avenue and I hurried up the street until I came to the
house, a neat, unpretentious place. Looking at the
address on the card first to make sure, I rang the bell.
I must say that I could scarcely criticize the poisoned
kisser's taste, for the woman who had opened the door
certainly was extraordinarily attractive.
'' And you really were — put out by a kiss ? '* I
queried, as she led me into a neat sitting room.
'' Absolutely — as much as if it had been by one of
these poisoned needles you read about,*' she replied
confidently, hastening on to describle the aflfair
It was beyond me.
'' May I use your telephone ? " I asked.
" Surely," she answered.
I called the laboratory. "Is that you, Craig?" I
" Yes, Walter," he answered, recognizing my voice.
" Say, Craig," I asked breathlessly, '' what sort of
kiss would suffocate a person."
My only answer was an uproarious laugh from him
at the idea.
'' I know," I persisted, '' but IVe got the assignment
from the Star — and Fm out here interviewing a
woman about it. It's all right to laugh — but here I
am. I've found a case — names, dates and places.
I wish you'd explain the thing, then."
'' Oh, all right, Walter," he replied indulgently.
" I'll meet you as soon as I can and help you out."
I hung up the receiver with an air of satisfaction.
192 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
At least now I would get an explanation of the woman's
*' ril clear this thing up," I said confidently. '' My
friend, Craig Kennedy, the scientific detective is com-
ing out here."
*' Good ! That fellow who attacked me ought to be
shown up. All women may not be as fortunate as I/'
We waited patiently. Her story certainly was re-
markable. She remembered every detail up to a cer-
tain point — and then, as she said, all was blankness.
The bell rang and the woman hastened to the door
" Hello, Walter," he greeted.
" This is certainly a most remarkable case, Craig,"
I said, introducing him, and telling briefly what I had
" And you actually mean to say that a kiss had the
Just then the telephone interrupted.
" Yes," she reasserted quickly. '' Excuse me a sec-
She answered the call. '' Oh — why — yes, he's
here. Do you want to speak to him? Mr. Jameson,
it's the Star."
'' Confound it ! " I exclaimed, *' isn't that like the
old man — dragging me off this story before it's half
finished in order to get another. I'll have to go. I'll
get this story from you, Craig."
The day before, in the suburban house, the Clutching
Hand had been talking to two of his emissaries, an
attractive young woman and a man.
They were Flirty Florrie and Dan the Dude.
THE LIFE CURRENT 193
*' Now, I want you to get Kennedy," he said. '' The
way to do it is to separate Kennedy and Elaine —
'' All right, Chief, we'll do it," they replied.
" I've rigged it so that you'll reach him through
Jameson, understand ? "
They nodded eagerly as he told them the subtle
Clutching Hand had scarcely left when Flirty Florrie
began by getting published in the papers the story
which I had seen.
The next day she called me up from the suburban
house. Having got me to promise to see her, she had
scarcely turned from the telephone when Dan the
Dude w^alked in from the next room.
'' He's coming," she said.
Dan was carrying a huge stag head with a beauti-
fully branched pair of antlers. Under his arm was a
coil of wire which he had connected to the inside of the
'' Fine ! " he exclaimed. Then, pointing to the head,
he added, '' It's all ready. See how I fixed it ? That
ought to please the Chief."
Dan moved quickly to the mantle and mounted a
stepladder there by which he had taken down the
head, and started to replace the head above the mantle.
He hooked the head on a nail.
" There," he said, unscrewing one of the beautiful
brown glass eyes of the stag.
Back of it could be seen a camera shutter. Dan
worked the shutter several times to see whether it was
194 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
'' One of those new quick shutter cameras," he ex-
Then he ran a couple of wires along the moulding,
around the room and into a closet, where he made the
connection with a sort of switchboard on which a but-
ton was marked, '' shutter '' and the switch, " wind
'' Now, Flirty," he said, coming out of the closet
and pulling up the shade which let a flood of sunlight
into the room, '' you see, I want you to stand here —
then, do your little trick. Get me ? "
" I get you Steve," she laughed.
Just then the bell rang.
" That must be Jameson," she cried. *' Now — get
to your corner."
With a last look Dan went into the closet and shut
Perhaps half an hour later. Clutching Hand himself
called me up on the telephone. It was he — not the
Star — as I learned only too late.
I had scarcely got out of the house, as Craig told
me afterwards, when Flirty Florrie told all over again
the embroidered tale that had caught my ear.
Kennedy said nothing, but listened intently, perhaps
betraying in his face the scepticism he felt.
" You see," she said, still voluble and eager to con-
vince him, '' I was only walking on the street. Here,
— let me show you. It was just like this."
She took his arm and before he knew it, led him to
the spot on the floor near the window which Dan
had indicated. Meanwhile Dan was listening atten-
tively in his closet.
THE LIFE CURRENT 195
** Now — stand there. You are just as I was —
only I didn't expect anything/'
She was pantomiming someone approaching stealth-
ily while Kennedy watched her with interest, tinged
with doubt. Behind Craig, in his closet, Dan was
reaching for the switchboard button.
'' You see," she said advancing quickly and acting
her words, *' he placed his hands on my shoulders —
so — then threw his arms about my neck — so.''
She said no more, but imprinted a deep, passionate
kiss on Kennedy's mouth, clinging closely to him.
Before Kennedy could draw away, Dan, in the closet,
had pressed the button and the switch several times in
" Th-that's very realistic," gasped Craig, a good deal
taken aback by the sudden osculatory assault.
''I — I'll look into the case," he said, backing away.
*^ There may be some scientific explanation — but —
He was plainly embarrassed and hastened to make
Kennedy had no more than shut the door before Dan,
with a gleeful laugh, burst out of the closet and flung
his own arms about Florrie in an embrace that might
have been poisoned, it is true, but was none the less
real for that.
How little impression the thing made on Kennedy
can be easily seen from the fact that on the way down-
town that afternoon he stopped at Martin's, on Fifth
Avenue, and bought a ring — a very handsome soli^
taire, the finest Martin had in the shop.
196 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
It must have been about the time that he decided
to stop at Martin's that the Dodge butler, Jennings,
admitted a young lady who presented a card on which
was engraved the name
Miss Florence Leigh
20 Prospect Avenue.
As he handed Elaine the card, she looked up from
the book she was reading and took it.
*' I don't know her/' she said puckering her pretty
brow. " Do you ? What does she look like ? "
" I never saw her before. Miss Elaine," Jennings
shrugged. " But she is very well dressed."
" All right, show her in, Jennings. I'll see her."
Elaine moved into the drawing room, Jennings
springing forward to part the portieres for her and
passing through the room quickly where Flirty Florrie
sat waiting. Flirty Florrie rose and stood gazing at
Elaine, apparently very much embarrassed, even after
Jennings had gone.
There was a short pause. The woman was the first
'' It is embarrassing," she said finally, '' but. Miss
Dodge, I have come to you to beg for my love."
Elaine looked at her non-plussed.
" Yes," she continued, *' you do not know it, but
Craig Kennedy is infatuated with you." She paused
again, then added, " But he is engaged to me."
Elaine stared at the woman. She was dazed. She
could not believe it.
'' There is the ring," Flirty Florrie added indicating
a very impressive paste diamond.
THE LIFE CURRENT 197
Elaine frowned but said nothing. Her head was in
a whirl. She could not believe. Although Florrie
was very much embarrassed, she was quite as evidently
very much wrought up. Quickly she reached into her
bag and drew out two photographs, without a word,
handing them to Elaine. Elaine took them reluctantly.
'' There's the proof," Florrie said simply, choking a
Elaine looked with a start. Sure enough, there was
the neat living room in the house on Prospect Avenue.
In one picture Florrie had her arms over Kennedy's
shoulders. In the other, apparently, they were pas-
Elaine slowly laid the photographs on the table.
''Please — please, ]\Iiss Dodge — give me back my
lost love. You are rich and beautiful — I am poor.
I have only my good looks. But — I — I love him —
and he — loves me — and has promised to marry me.'*
Filled with wonder, and misgivings now, and quite
as much embarrassed at the woman's pleadings as the
woman herself had acted a moment before, Elaine
tried to wave her oif .
'•' Really — I — I don't know anything about all this.
It — it doesn't concern me. Please — go."
Florrie had broken down completely and was weep-
ing softly into a lace handkerchief.
She moved toward the door. Elaine followed her.
'' Jennings — please see the lady to the door."
Back in the drawing room, Elaine almost seized the
photographs and hurried into the library where she
could be alone. There she stood gazing at them —
doubt, wonder, and fear battling on her plastic fea-
198 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
Just then she heard the bell and Jennings in the hall.
She shoved the photographs away from her on the
It was Kennedy himself, close upon the announce-
ment of the butler. He was in a particularly joyous
and happy mood, for he had stopped at Martin's.
"How are you this afternoon?'' he greeted Elaine
Elaine had been too overcome by what had just hap-
pened to throw it off so easily, and received him with
a quickly studied coolness.
Still, Craig, man-like, did not notice it at once. In
fact he was too busy gazing about to see that neither
Jennings, Marie, nor the duenna Aunt Josephine were
visible. They were not and he quickly took the ring
from his pocket. Without waiting, he showed it to
Elaine. In fact, so sure had he been that everything
was plain sailing, that he seemed to take it almost for
granted. Under other circumstances, he would have
been right. But not tonight.
Elaine very coolly admired the ring, as Craig might
have eyed a specimen on a microscope slide. Still, he
did not notice.
He took the ring, about to put it on her finger.
Elaine drew away. Concealment was not in her frank
She picked up the two photographs.
'' What have you to say about those ? " she asked
Kennedy, quite surprised, took them and looked at
them. Then he let them fall carelessly on the table
and dropped into a chair, his head back in a burst of
THE LIFE CURRENT 199
" Why — that was what they put over on Walter/'
he said. '' He called me up early this afternoon —
told me he had discovered one of these poisoned kiss
cases you have read about in the papers. Think of it
— all that to pull a concealed camera ! Such an elabor-
ate business — just to get me where they could fake
this thing. I suppose they've put some one up to say-
ing she's engaged ? ''
Elaine was not so lightly affected. '^ But," she said
severely, repressing her emotion, '' I don't understand,
Mr. Kennedy, how scientific inquiry into ' the poisoned
kiss ' could necessitate this sort of thing."
She pointed at the photographs accusingly.
" But," he began, trying to explain.
" No buts," she interrupted.
" Then you believe that I — "
*' How can you, as a scientist, ask me to doubt the
camera," she insinuated, very coldly turning away.
Kennedy rapidly began to see that it was far more
serious than he had at first thought.
" Very well," he said with a touch of impatience,
*' if my word is not to be taken — I — I'll — "
He had seized his hat and stick.
Elaine did not deign to answer.
Then, without a word he stalked out of the door.
As he did so, Elaine hastily turned and took a few
steps after him, as if to recall her words, then stopped,
and her pride got the better of her.
She walked slowly back to the chair by the table —
the chair he had been sitting in — sank down into it
200 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
Kennedy was moping in the laboratory the next day
when I came in.
Just what the trouble was, I did not know, but I
had decided that it was up to me to try to cheer him
"' Say, Craig," I began, tr}'ing to overcome his fit of
Kennedy, filled with his own thoughts, paid no at-
tention to me. Still, I kept on.
Finally he got up and, before I knew it, he took me
by the ear and marched me into the next room.
I saw that what he needed chiefly w^as to be let
alone, and he went back to his chair, dropping down
into it and banging his fists on the table. Under his
breath he loosed a small volley of bitter expletives.
Then he jumped up.
'' By George — I iiill/' he muttered.
I poked my head out of the door in time to see him
grab up his hat and coat and dash from the room, put-
ting his coat on as he went.
'' He's a nut today," I exclaimed to myself.
Though I did not know, yet, of the quarrel, Ken-
nedy had really struggled with himself until he was
willing to put his pride in his pocket and had made up
his mind to call on Elaine again.
As he entered, he saw that it was really of no use, for
only Aunt Josephine was in the library.
'' Oh, Mr. Kennedy," she said innocently enough,
*' I'm so sorry she isn't here. There's been something
troubling her and she won't tell me what it is. But
she's gone to call on a young woman, a Florence Leigh,
THE LIFE CURRENT 201
'' Florence Leigh ! " exclaimed Craig with a start and
a frown. '' Let me use your telephone/'
I had turned my attention in the laboratory to a
story I was writing, when I heard the telephone ring.
It was Craig. Without a word of apology for his
rudeness, which I knew had been purely absent-minded,
I heard him saying, '' Walter — meet me in half an
hour outside that Florence Leigh's house."
He was gone in a minute, giving me scarcely time
to call back that I would.
Then, with a hasty apology for his abruptness, he
excused himself, leaving Aunt Josephine wondering at
his strange actions.
At about the same time that Craig had left the
laboratory, at the Dodge house Elaine and Aunt
Josephine had been in the hall near the library.
Elaine was in her street dress.
'' Fm going out. Auntie," she said with an attempted
gaiety. '' And," she added, '^ if anyone should ask for
me, ril be there."
She had showed her a card on which was engraved,
the name and address of Florence Leigh.
" All right, dear," answered Aunt Josephine, not
quite clear in her mind what subtle change there was
Half an hour later I was waiting near the house in
the suburbs to which I had been directed by the strange
telephone call the day before. I noticed that it was
apparently deserted. The blinds were closed and a
** To Let " sign was on the side of the house.
" Hello, Walter," cried Craig at last, bustling along.
He stopped a moment to look at the house. Then,
202 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
together, we went up the steps and we rang the bell,
'' Strange," muttered Craig. " The house looks de-
He pointed out the sign and the generally unoc-
cupied look of the place. Nor was there any answer
to our ring. Kennedy paused only a second, in
'' Come on, Walter," he said with a sudden decision.
^^ We've got to get in here somehow."
He led the way around the side of the house to a
window, and with a powerful grasp, wrenched open
the closed shutters. He had just smashed the window
viciously with his foot when a policeman appeared.
" Hey, you fellows — what are you doing there ? "
Craig paused a second, then pulled his card from his
" Just the man I want," he parried, much to the
policeman's surprise, " There's something crooked go-
ing on here. Follow us in."
We climbed into the window. There was the same
living room we had seen the day before. But it was
now bare and deserted. Everything was gone except
an old broken chair. Craig and I were frankly amazed
at the complete and sudden change and I think the
policeman was a little surprised, for he had thought
the place occupied.
*' Come on," cried Kennedy, beckoning us on.
Quickly he rushed through the house. There was
not a thing in it to change the deserted appearance of
the first floor. At last it occurred to Craig to grope
his way down cellar. There was nothing there, either,
THE LIFE CURRENT 203
except a bin, as innocent of coal as Mother Hubbard's
cupboard was of food. For several minutes we hunted
about without discovering a thing.
Kennedy had been carefully going over the place
and was at the other side of the cellar from ourselves
when I saw him stop and gaze at the floor. He was
not looking, apparently, so much as listening. I
strained my ears, but could make out nothing. Before
I could 3ay anything, he raised his hand for silence.
Apparently he had heard something.
" Hide,'' he whispered suddenly to us.
Without another word, though for the life of me I
could make nothing out of it, I pulled the policeman
into a little angle of the wall nearby, while Craig
slipped into a similar angle.
We waited a moment. Nothing happened. Had
he been seeing things or hearing things, I w^ondered ?
From our hidden vantage we could now see a square
piece in the floor, perhaps five feet in diameter, slowly
open up as though on a pivot. Beneath it we could
make out a tube-like hole, perhaps three feet across,
with a covered top. It slowly opened.
A weird and sinister figure of a man appeared.
Over his head he w^ore a peculiar helmet with hideous
glass pieces over the eyes, and tubes that connected
with a tank which he carried buckled to his back. As
he slowly dragged himself out, I could wonder only at
the outlandish headgear.
Quickly he closed down the cover of the tube, but
not before a vile effluvium seemed to escape, and pene-
trate even to us in our hiding places. As he moved
forward, Kennedy gave a flying leap at him, and we
followed with a re2:ular football interference.
204 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
It was the work of only a moment for us to subdue
and hold him, while Craig ripped off the helmet.
It was Dan the Dude.
*' What's that thing?'' I puffed, as I helped Craig
with the headgear.
" An oxygen helmet," he replied. *' There must be
air down the tube that cannot be breathed."
He went over to the tube. Carefully he opened the
top and gazed down, starting back a second later, with
his face puckered up at the noxious odor.
" Sewer gas," he ejaculated, as he slammed the cover
down. Then he added to the policeman, " Where do
you suppose it comes from ? "
'' Why," replied the officer, *' the St. James Drain
— an old sewer — is somewhere about these parts."
Kennedy puckered his face as he gazed at our pris-
oner. He reached down quickly and lifted something
off the man's coat.
'' Golden hair," he muttered. '' Elaine's ! "
A moment later he seized the man and shook him
" Where is she — tell me ? " he demanded.
The man snarled some kind of reply, refusing to say
a word about her.
'' Tell me," repeated Kennedy.
" Humph ! " snorted the prisoner, more close-
mouthed than ever.
Kennedy was furious. As he sent the man reeling
away from him, he seized the oxygen helmet and be-
gan putting it on. There was only one thing to do —
to follow the clue of the golden strands of hair.
Down into the pest hole he went, his head protected
by the oxygen helmet. As he cautiously took one step
THE LIFE CURRENT 205
after another down a series of iron rungs inside the
hole, he found that the water was up to his chest.
At the bottom of the perpendicular pit was a narrow
low passage way, leading off. It was just about big
enough to get through, but he managed to grope along
it. He came at last to the main drain, an old stone-
walled sewer, as murky a place as could well be im-
agined, filled with the foulest sewer gas. He was
hardly able to keep his feet in the swirling, bubbling
water that swept past, almost up to his neck.
The minutes passed as the policeman and I watched
our prisoner in the cellar, by the tube. I looked
anxiously at my watch.
" Craig ! " I shouted at last, unable to control my
fears for him.
No answer. To go down after him seemed out of
By this time, Craig had come to a small open
chamber into which the sewer widened. On the wall
he found another series of iron rungs up which he
climbed. The gas was terrible.
As he neared the top of the ladder, he came to a
shelf-like aperture in the sewer chamber, and gazed
about. It was horribly dark. He reached out and
felt a piece of cloth. Anxiously he pulled on it. Then
he reached further into the darkness.
There was Elaine, unconscious, apparently dead.
He shook her, endeavoring to wake her up. But it
was no use.
In desperation Craig carried her down the ladder.
With our prisoner, we could only look helplessly
around. Again and again I looked at my watch as the
minutes lengthened. Suppose the oxygen gave out ?
2o6 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
" By George, Tm going down after him/' I cried in
" Don't do it," advised the poHceman. " You'll
never get out."
One whiff of the horrible gas told me that he was
right. I should not have been able to go fifty feet
in it. I looked at him in despair. It was impossible.
'' Listen," said the policeman, straining his ears.
There was indeed a faint noise from the black depths
below us. A rope alongside the rough ladder began
to move, as though someone was pulling it taut. We
^^ Craig! Craig!" I called. '^ Is that you?"
No answer. But the rope still moved. Perhaps the
helmet made it impossible for him to hear.
He had struggled back in the swirling current al-
most exhausted by his helpless burden. Holding
Elaine's head above the surface of the water and pull-
ing on the rope to attract my attention, for he could
neither hear nor shout, he had taken a turn of the
rope about Elaine. I tried pulling on it. There was
something heavy on the other end and I kept on pull-
At last I could make out Kennedy dimly mounting
the ladder. The weight was the unconscious body of
Elaine which he steadied as he mounted. I tugged
harder and he slowly came up.
Together, at last, the policeman and I reached down
and pulled them out.
We placed Elaine on the cellar floor, as comfortably
as was possible, and the policeman began his first-aid
motions for resuscitation.
THE LIFE CURRENT 207
" No — no/' cried Kennedy, '' Not here — take her
up where the air is fresher."
With his revolver still drawn to overawe the pris-
oner, the policeman forced him to aid us in carrying
her up the rickety flight of cellar steps. Kennedy fol-
lowed quickly, unscrewing the oxygen helmet as he
In the deserted living room we deposited our sense-
less burden, while Kennedy, the helmet off now, bent
" Quick — quick ! '' he cried to the officer, '' An
ambulance ! ''
'' But the prisoner," the policeman indicated.
''Hurry — hurry — I'll take care of him," urged
Craig, seizing the policeman's pistol and thrusting it
into his pocket. '' Walter — help me."
He was trying the ordinary methods of resuscitation.
Meanwhile the officer had hurried out, seeking the
nearest telephone, while we worked madly to bring
Again and again Kennedy bent and outstretched her
arms, trying to induce respiration. So busy was I that
for the moment I forgot our prisoner.
But Dan had seen his chance. Noiselessly he picked
up the old chair in the room and with it raised was
approaching Kennedy to knock him out.
Before I knew it myself, Kennedy had heard him.
With a half instinctive motion, he drew the revolver
from his pocket and, almost before I could see it, had
shot the man. Without a word he returned the gun
to his pocket and again bent over Elaine, without so
much as a look at the crook who sank to the floor,
dropping the chair from his nerveless hands.
2o8 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
Already the policeman had got an ambulance which
was now tearing along to us.
Frantically Kennedy was working.
A moment he paused and looked at me — hopeless.
Just then, outside, we could hear the ambulance,
and a doctor and two attendants hurried up to the
door. Without a word the doctor seemed to appre-
ciate the gravity of the case.
He finished his examination and shook his head.
'' There is no hope — no hope,'' he said slowly.
Kennedy merely stared at Jiim. But the rest of us
instinctively removed our hats.
Kennedy gazed at Elaine, overcome. Was this the
It was not niany minutes later that Kennedy had
Elaine in the little sitting room off the laboratory, hav-
ing taken her there in the ambulance, with the doctor
and two attendants.
Elaine's body had been placed on a couch, covered
by a blanket, and the shades were drawn. The light
fell on her pale face.
There was something incongruous about death and
the vast collection of scientific apparatus, a ghastly
mocking of humanity. How futile was it all in the
presence of the great destroyer?
Aunt Josephine had arrived, stunned, and a mo-
ment later. Perry Bennett. As I looked at the sorrow-
ful party. Aunt Josephine rose slowly from her posi-
tion on her knees where she had been weeping silently
beside Elaine, and pressed her hands over her eyes,
with every indication of faintness.
Before any of us could do anything, she had stag-
THE LIFE CURRENT 209
gered into the laboratory itself, Bennett and I follow-
ing quickly. There I was busy for some time getting
Meanwhile Kennedy, beside the couch, with an air
of desperate determination, turned away and opened a
cabinet. From it he took a large coil and attached it to
a storage battery, dragging the peculiar apparatus near
To an electric light socket, Craig attached wires.
The doctor watched him in silent wonder.
" Doctor," he asked slowly as he worked, '^ do you
know of Professor Leduc of the Nantes Ecole de
Medicin ? "
*' Why — yes," answered the doctor, ^*but what of
*' Then you know of his method of electrical
*' Yes — but — " He paused, looking apprehensively
Craig paid no attention to his fears, but approaching
the couch on which Elaine lay, applied the electrodes.
" You see," he explained, with forced calmness, *' I
apply the anode here — the cathode there."
The ambulance surgeon looked on excitedly, as Craig
turned on the current, applying it to the back of the
neck and to the spine.
For some minutes the machine worked.
Then the young doctor's eyes began to bulge.
*' My heavens ! " he cried under his breath.
" Look ! "
Elaine's chest had slowly risen and fallen. Ken-
nedy, his attention riveted on his work, applied him-
210 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
self with redoubled efforts. The young doctor looked
on with increased wonder.
" Look ! The color in her face ! See her lips ! '' he
At last her eyes slowly fluttered open — then closed.
Would the machine succeed? Or was it just the
galvanic effect of the current? The doctor noticed it
and quickly placed his ear to her heart. His face was
a study in astonishment. The minutes sped fast.
To us outside, who had no idea what was transpir-
ing in the other room, the minutes were leaden-feeted.
Aunt Josephine, weak but now herself again, was sit-
Just then the door opened.
I shall never forget the look on the young ambulance
surgeon's face, as he murmured under his breath,
''Come here — the age of miracles is not passed —
Raising his finger to indicate that we were to make
no noise, he led us into the other room.
Kennedy was bending over the couch.
Elaine, her eyes open, now, was gazing up at him,
and a wan smile flitted over her beautiful face.
Kennedy had taken her hand, and as he heard us
enter, turned half way to us, while we stared in blank
wonder from Elaine to the weird and complicated
" It is the life-current," he said simply, patting the
Leduc apparatus with his other hand.
THE HOUR OF THREE 211
THE HOUR OF THREE
With the ominous forefinger of his Clutching Hand
extended, the master criminal emphasized his instruc-
tions to his minions.
" Perry Bennett, her lawyer, is in favor again with
Elaine Dodge,'' he was saying. '' She and Kennedy
are on the outs even yet. But they may become recon-
ciled. Then she'll have that fellow on our trail again.
Before that happens, we must ' get ' her — see? "
It was in the latest headquarters to which Craig had
chased the criminal, in one of the toughest parts of the
old Greenwich village, on the west side of New York,
not far from the river front.
They were all seated in a fairly large but dingy old
room, in which were several chairs, a rickety table and,
against the wall, a roll-top desk on the top of which
was a telephone.
Several crooks of the gang were sitting about, smok-
'' Now," went on Clutching Hand, " I want you.
Spike, to follow them. See what they do — where
they go. It's her birthday. Something's bound to
occur that will give you a lead. All you've got to do is
to use your head. Get me ? "
Spike rose, nodded, picked up his hat and coat and
squirmed out on his mission, like the snake that he
It was, as Clutching Hand had said, Elaine's birth-
212 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
day. She had received many callers and congratula-
tions, innumerable costly and beautiful tokens of
remembrance from her countless friends and admirers.
In the conservatory of the Dodge house Elaine, Aunt
Josephine, and Susie Martin were sitting discussing
not only the happy occasion, but, more, the many
strange events of the past few weeks.
'' Well," cried a familiar voice behind them. " What
would a certain blonde young lady accept as a birthday
present from her family lawyer ? ''
All three turned in surprise.
*'Oh, Mr. Bennett," s:ried Elaine. "How you
startled us ! "
He laughed and repeated his question, adopting the
tone that he had once used in the days when he had
been more in favor with the pretty heiress, before the
advent of Kennedy.
Elaine hesitated. She was thinking not so much
of his words as of Kennedy. To them all, however, it
seemed that she was unable to make up her mind what,
in the wealth of her luxury, she would like.
Susie Martin had been wondering whether, now that
Bennett was here, she were not de trop, and she looked
at her wrist watch mechanically. As she did so, an
idea occurred to her.
" Why not one of these ? " she cried impulsively, in-
dicating the watch. " Father has some beauties at the
" Oh, good," exclaimed Elaine, *^ how sweet ! "
She welcomed the suggestion, for she had been
thinking that perhaps Bennett might be hinting too
seriously at a solitaire.
" So that strikes your fancy ? " he asked. " Then
THE HOUR OF THREE 213
let's all go to the shop. Miss Martin will personally
conduct the tour, and we shall have our pick of the
A moment later the three young people went out and
were quickly whirled off down the Avenue in the
Dodge town car.
It was too gay a party to notice a sinister figure fol-
lowing them in a cab. But as they entered the fash-
ionable jewelry shop, Spike, who had alighted, walked
slowly down the street.
Chatting with animation, the three moved over to
the watch counter, while the crook, with a determina-
tion not to risk missing anything, entered the shop
" Mr. Thomas," asked Susie as her father's clerk
bowed to them, ''please show Miss Dodge the wrist
watches father was telling about.
With another deferential bow, the clerk hastened to
display a case of watches and they bent over them.
As each new watch was pointed out, Elaine was de-
Unobserved, the crook walked over near enough to
hear what was going on.
At last, with much banter and yet care, Elaine
selected one that was indeed a beauty and was about
to snap it on her dainty wrist, when the clerk inter-
*' I beg pardon," he suggested, " but Fd advise you
to leave it to be regulated, if you please."
" Yes, indeed," chimed in Susie. *' Father always
Reluctantly, Elaine handed it over to the clerk.
*' Oh, thank you, ever so much, Mr. Bennett," she
214 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
said as he unobtrusively paid for the watch and gave
the address to which it was to be sent when ready.
A moment later they went out and entered the car
As they did so, Spike^ who had been looking various
things in the next case over as if undecided, came up
to the watch counter.
" I'm making a present," he remarked confidentially
to the clerk. '' How about those bracelet watches ? "
The clerk pulled out some of the cheaper ones.
" No," he said thoughtfully, pointing out a tray in
the show case, " something like those."
He ended by picking out one identically like that
which Elaine had selected, and started to pay for it.
'* Better have it regulated," repeated the clerk.
'* No," he objected hastily, shaking his head and pay-
ing the money quickly. '' It's a present — and I want
He took the watch and left the store hurriedly.
In the laboratory, Kennedy was working over an
oblong oak box, perhaps eighteen inches in length and
half as high. In the box I could see, besides other
apparatus, two good sized spools of fine wire.
'' What's all that ? " I asked inquisitively.
** Another of the new instruments that scientific de-
tectives use," he responded, scarcely looking up, '^ a
little magnetic wizard, the telegraphone."
" Which is ? " I prompted.
*^ Something we detectives might use to take down
and ' can ' telephone and other conversations. When
it is attached properly to a telephone, it records every-
thing that is said over the wire."
THE HOUR OF THREE 215
*^ How does it work ? " I asked, much mystified,
" Well, it is based on an entirely new principle, in
every way different from the phonograph," he ex-
plained. '' As you can see there are no discs or
cylinders, but these spools of extremely fine steel wire.
The record is not made mechanically on a cylinder, but
electromagnetically on this wire."
" How ? " I asked, almost incredulously.
" To put it briefly," he went on, '' small portions of
magnetism, as it were, are imparted to fractions of the
steel wire as it passes between two carbon electric mag-
nets. Each impression represents a sound wave.
There is no apparent difference in the wire, yet each
particle of steel undergoes an electromagnetic trans-
formation by which the sound is indelibly imprinted
" Then you scrape the wire, just as you shave
records to use it over again ? " I suggested.
" No," he replied. *' You pass a magnet over it and
the magnet automatically erases the record. Rust has
no effect. The record lasts as long as steel lasts."
Craig continued to tinker tantalizingly with the
machine which had been invented by a Dane, Valdemar
He had scarcely finished testing out the telegraphone,
when the laboratory door opened and a clean-cut young
Kennedy, I knew, had found that the routine worK
of the Clutching Hand case was beyond his limited
time and had retained this young man, Raymond
Chase, to attend to that.
Chase was a young detective whom Craig had em-
ployed on shadowing jobs and as a stool pigeon on
2i6 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
other cases, and we had all the confidence in the
world in him.
Just now what worried Craig was the situation with
Elaine, and I fancied that he had given Chase some
commission in connection with that.
'' I've got it, Mr. Kennedy,'' greeted Chase with
'' Good," responded Craig heartily. ^' I knew you
** Got what ? " I asked a moment later.
Kennedy nodded for Chase to answer.
'* I've located the new residence of Flirty Florrie,"
I saw what Kennedy was after at once. Flirty
Florrie and Dan the Dude had caused the quarrel be-
tween himself and Elaine. Dan the Dude was dead.
But Flirty Florrie might be forced to explain it.
"That's fine," he added, exultingly. "Now, I'll
clear that thing up."
He took a hasty step to the telephone, put his hand
on the receiver and was about to take it off the hook.
Then he paused, and I saw his face working. The
wound Elaine had given his feelings was deep. It had
not yet quite healed.
Finally, his pride, for Kennedy's was a highly sensi-
tive nature, got the better of him.
" No," he said, half to himself, " not — yet."
Elaine had returned home.
Alone, her thoughts naturally went back to what had
happened recently to interrupt a friendship which had
been the sweetest in her life.
" There must be some mistake," she murmured pen-
THE HOUR OF THREE 217
sively to herself, thinking of the photograph Flirty
had given her. ** Oh, why did I send him away ?
Why didn't I beHeve him?"
Then she thought of what had happened, of how she
had been seized by Dan the Dude in the deserted house,
of how the noxious gas had overcome her.
They had told her of how Craig had risked his life
to save her, how she had been brought home, still only
half alive, after his almost miraculous work with the
new electric machine.
There was his picture. She had not taken that
away. As she looked at it, a wave of feeling came
over her. Mechanically, she put out her hand to the
She was about to take off the receiver, when some-
thing seemed to stay her hand. She wanted him to
come to her.
And, if either of them had called the other just then,
they would have probably crossed wires.
Of such stuff are the quarrels of lovers.
Craig's eye fell on the telegraphone, and an idea
seemed to occur to him.
'' Walter, you and Chase bring that thing along,"
he said a moment later.
He paused long enough to take a badge from the
drawer of a cabinet, and went out. We followed him,
lugging the telegraphone.
At last we came to the apartment house at which
Chase had located the woman.
" There it is," he pointed out, as I gave a groan of
relief, for the telegraphone was getting like lead.
2i8 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
Kennedy nodded and drew from his pocket the
badge I had seen him take from the cabinet.
'' Now, Chase," he directed, " you needn't go in
with us. Walter and I can manage this, now. But
don't get out of touch with me. I shall need you any
moment — certainly tomorrow."
I saw that the badge read, Telephone Inspector.
" Walter," he smiled, " you're elected my helper."
We entered the apartment house hall and found a
Negro boy in charge of the switchboard. It took
Craig only a moment to convince the boy that he was
from the company and that complaints had been made
by some anonymous tenant.
" You look over that switchboard, Kelly," he winked
at me, " while I test out the connections back here.
There must be something wrong with the wires or
there wouldn't be so many complaints."
He had gone back of the switchboard and the Negro,
still unsuspicious, watched without understanding
what it was all about.
'' I don't know," Craig muttered finally for the
benefit of the boy, '' but I think I'll have to leave that
tester after all. Say, if I put it here, you'll have to be
careful not to let anyone meddle with it. If you do,
there'll be the deuce to pay. See?"
Kennedy had already started to fasten the tele-
graphone to the wires he had selected from the tangle.
At last he finished and stood up.
" Don't disturb it and don't let anyone else touch it,"
he ordered. '' Better not tell anyone — that's the best
way. I'll be back for it tomorrow probably."
'' Yas sah," nodded the boy, with a bow, as we went
THE HOUR OF THREE 219
We returned to the laboratory, where there seemed
to be nothing we could do now except wait for some-
thing to happen.
Kennedy, however, employed the time by plunging
into work, most of the time experimenting with a
peculiar little coil to which ran the wires of an
ordinary electric bell.
Back in the new hang-out, the Clutching Hand was
laying down the law to his lieutenants and heelers,
when Spike at last entered.
'' Huh ! " growled the master criminal, covering the
fact that he was considerably relieved to see him at
last, " where have you been ? IVe been off on a little
job myself and got back."
Spike apologized profusely. He had succeeded so
easily that he had thought to take a little time to meet
up with an old pal whom he ran across, just out of
'' Yes sir," he replied hastily, '' well, I went over to
the Dodge house, and I saw them finally. Followed
them into a jewelry shop. That lawyer bought her a
wrist watch. So I bought one just like it. I thought
perhaps we pould — "
*' Give it to me," growled Clutching Hand, seizing
it the moment Slim displayed it. " And don't butt in
From the capacious desk, the master criminal pulled
a set of small drills, vices, and other jeweler's tools
and placed them on the table.
'' All right," he relented. '' Now, do you see what
I have just thought of — no ? This is just the chance.
Look at me."
220 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
The heelers gathered around him, peering curiously
at their master as he worked at the bracelet watch.
Carefully he plied his hands to the job, regardless of
'* There," he exclaimed at last, holding the watch
up where they could all see it. " See ! "
He pulled out the stem to set the hands and slowly
twisted it between his thumb and finger. He turned
the hands until they were almost at the point of three
Then he held the watch out where all could see it.
They bent closer and strained their eyes at the little
second hand ticking away merrily.
As the minute hand touched three, from the back of
the case, as if from the casing itself, a little needle, per-
haps a quarter of an inch, jumped out. It seemed to
come from what looked like merely a small inset in
" You see what will happen at the hour of three? "
No one said a word, as he held up a vial which he
had drawn from his pocket. On it they could read
the label, " Ricinus."
'' One of the most powerful poisons in the world ! "
he exclaimed. *' Enough here to kill a regiment ! "
They fairly gasped and looked at it with horror, ex-
changing glances. Then they looked at him in awe.
There was no wonder that Clutching Hand kept them
in line, once he had a crook in his power.
Opening the vial carefully, he dipped in a thin piece
of glass and placed a tiny drop in a receptacle back of
the needle and on the needle itself.
THE HOUR OF THREE 221
Altogether it savored of the ancient days of the
Borgias with their weird poisoned rings.
Then he dropped the vial back into his pocket,
pressed a spring, and the needle went back into its un-
suspected hiding place.
'' I Ve set my invention to go ofif at three o'clock/'
he concluded. " Tomorrow forenoon, it will have to
be delivered early — and I don't believe we shall be
troubled any longer by Miss Elaine Dodge," he added
Even the crooks, hardened as they were, could only
Calmly he wrapped up the apparently innocent en-
gine of destruction and handed it to Spike.
" See that she gets it in time," he said merely.
*' I will, sir," answered Spike, taking it gingerly.
Flirty Florrie had returned that afternoon, late,
from some expedition on which she had been sent.
Rankling in her heart yet was the death of her lover,
Dan the Dude. For, although in her sphere of crook-
dom they are neither married nor given in marriage,
still there is a brand of loyalty that higher circles
might well copy. Sacred to the memory of the dead,
however, she had one desire — revenge.
Thus when she arrived home, she went to the tele-
phone to report and called a number, 4494 Greenwich.
''Hello, Chief," she repeated. ''This is Flirty.
Have you done anything yet in the little matter we
" Say — be careful of names — over the wire,"
came a growl.
" You know — what I mean."
222 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
" Yes. The trick. will be pulled off at three o'clock."
" Good ! " she exclaimed. ''Good-bye and thank
With his well-known caution Clutching Hand did
not even betray names over the telephone if he could
Flirty hung up the receiver with satisfaction. The
manes of the departed Dan might soon rest in peace!
The next day, early in the forenoon, a young man
with a small package carefully done up came to the
'' From Martin's, the jeweler's, for Miss Dodge,"
he said to Jennings at the door.
Elaine and Aunt Josephine were sitting in the
library when Jennings announced him.
" Oh, it's my watch," cried Elaine. '' Show him in."
Jennings bowed and did so. Spike entered, and
handed the package to Elaine, who signed her name
excitedly and opened it.
" Just look, Auntie," she exclaimed. '' Isn't it
" Very pretty," commented Aunt Josephine.
Elaine put the watch on her wrist and admired it.
'' Is it all right? " asked Spike.
" Yes, yes," answered Elaine. " You may go."
He went out, while Elaine gazed rapturously at the
new trinket while it ticked off the minutes — this
Early the same morning Kennedy went around
again to the apartment house and, cautious not to be
THE HOUR OF THREE 223
seen by Flirty, recovered the telegraphone. To-
gether we carried it to the laboratory.
There he set up a little instrument that looked like
a wedge sitting up on end, in the face of which was a
dial. Through it he began to run the wire from the
spools, and, taking an earpiece, put another on my
head over my ears.
" You see," he explained, " the principle on which
this is based is that a mass of tempered steel may be
impressed with and will retain magnetic fluxes vary-
ing in density and in sign in adjacent portions of it-
self — little deposits of magnetic impulse.
" When the telegraphone is attached to the tele-
phone wire, the currents that affect the receiver also
affect the coils of the telegraphone and the disturbance
set up causes a deposit of magnetic impulse on the
" When the wire is again run past these coils with
a receiver such as I have here in circuit with the coils,
a light vibration is set up in the receiver diaphragm
which reproduces the sound of speech.'' He turned
a switch and we listened eagerly. There was no grat-
ing and thumping, as he controlled the running off of
the wire. We were listening to everything that had
been said over the telephone during the time since we
left the machine.
First came several calls from people with bills and
she put them off most adroitly.
Then we heard a call that caused Kennedy to look
at me quickly, stop the machine and start at that point
'' That's what I wanted," he said as we listened in :
224 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
" Give me 4494 Greenwich."
'' Hello, Chief. This is Flirty. Have you done
anything yet in the little matter we talked about ?
'' Say — be careful of names — over the wire."
" You know — what I mean."
" Yes, the trick will be pulled off at three o'clock.
" Good ! Good-bye and thank you ! "
Kennedy stopped the machine and I looked at him
'' She called Greenwich 4494 and was told that the
trick would be pulled off at three o'clock today," he
"What trick?" I asked.
He shook his head. '' I don't know. That is what
we must find out. I hadn't expected a tip like that.
What I wanted was to find out how to get at the
He paused and considered a minute, then moved to
" There's only one thing to do and that's to fol-
low out my original scheme," he said energetically.
** Information, please."
'' Where is Greenwich 4494 ? " he asked a moment
The minutes passed. *' Thank you," he cried, writ-
ing down on a pad an address over on the west side
near the river front. Then turning to me he ex-
claimed, " Walter, we've got him at last ! "
Craig rose and put on his hat and coat, thrusting a
pair of opera glasses into his pocket, in case we should
THE HOUR OF THREE 225
want to observe the place at a distance.. I followed
him excitedly. The trail was hot.
Kennedy and I came at last to the place on the West
Side where the crooked streets curved off.
Instead of keeping on until he came to the place
we sought, he turned and quickly slipped behind the
shelter of a fence. There was a broken board in the
fence and he bent down, gazing through with the
Across the lot was the new headquarters, a some-
what dilapidated old-fashioned brick house of several
generations back. Through the glass we could see an
evil-countenanced crook slinking along. He mounted
the steps and rang the bell, turning as he waited.
From a small aperture in the doorway looked out
another face, equally evil. Under cover, the crook
made the sign of the clutching hand twice and was ad-
" That's the place, all right," whispered Kennedy
He hurried to a telephone booth where he called
several numbers. Then we returned to the laborator}%
while Kennedy quickly figured out a plan of action. I
knew Chase was expected there soon.
From the table he picked up the small coil over
which I had seen him working, and attached it to the
bell and some batteries. He replaced it on the table,
while I watched curiously.
'' A selenium cell,'' he explained. '' Only when
light falls on it does it become a good conductor of
electricity. Then the bell will ring.''
Just before making the connection he placed his hat
226 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
over the cell. Then he lifted the hat. The light fell
on it and the bell rang. He replaced the hat and the
bell stopped. It was evidently a very peculiar prop-
erty of the substance, selenium.
Just then there came a knock at the door. I opened
'^ Hello, Chase," greeted Kennedy. "Well, Fve
found the new headquarters all right, — over on the
Kennedy picked up the selenium cell and a long
coil of fine wire which he placed in a bag. Then he
took another bag already packed and, shifting them
between us, we hurried down town.
Near the vacant lot, back of the new headquarters,
was an old broken down house. Through the rear of
it we entered.
I started back in astonishment as we found eight or
ten policemen already there. Kennedy had ordered
them to be ready for a raid and they had dropped in
one at a time without attracting attention.
'' Well, men," he greeted them, '' I see you found
the place all right. Now, in a little while Jameson
will return with two wires. Attach them to the bell
which I will leave here. When it rings, raid the
house. Jameson will lead you to it. Come, Walter,"
he added, picking up the bags.
Ten minutes later, outside the new headquarters, a
crouched up figure, carrying a small package, his face
hidden under his soft hat and up-turned collar, could
have been seen slinking along until he came to the
He went up and peered through the aperture of the
THE HOUR OF THREE 227
doorway. Then he rang the bell. Twice he raised
his hand and clenched it in the now familiar clutch.
A crook inside saw it through the aperture and
opened the door. The figure entered and almost be-
fore the door was shut tied the masking handker-
chief over his face, which hid his identity from even
the most trusted lieutenants. The crook bowed to
the chief, who, with a growl as though of recognition,
moved down the hall.
As he came to the room from which Spike had
been sent on his misison, the same group was seated
in the thick tobacco smoke.
'' You fellows clear out," he growled. '' I want to
" The old man is peeved," muttered one, outside, as
The weird figure gazed about the room to be sure
that he was alone.
When Craig and I left the police he had given me
most minute instructions which I was now following
out to the letter.
** I want you to hide there," he said, indicating a
barrel back of the house next to the hang-out.
'' When you see a wire come down from the head-
quarters, take it and carry it across the lot to the old
house. Attach it to the bell; then wait. When it
rings, raid the Clutching Hand joint."
I waited what seemed to be an interminable time
back of the barrel and it is no joke hiding back of a
Finally, however, I saw a coil of fine wire drop
rapidly to the ground from a window somewhere
228 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
above. I made a dash for it, as though I were trying
to rush the trenches, seized my prize and without
looking back to see where it came from, beat a hasty
Around the lot I skirted, until at last I reached the
place where the police were waiting. Quickly we
fastened the wire to the bell.
Not a sound from the bell.
Up in the room in the joint, the hunched up figure
stood by the table. He had taken his hat off aiid
placed it carefully on the table, and was now waiting.
Suddenly a noise at the door startled him. He lis-
tened. Then he backed away from the door and drew
As the door slowly opened there entered another fig-
ure, hat over his eyes, collar up, a handkerchief over
his face, the exact counterpart of the first!
For a moment each glared at the other.
" Hands up ! " shouted the first figure, hoarsely,
moving the gun and closing the door, with his foot.
The newcomer slowly raised his crooked hand over
his head, as the blue steel revolver gaped menacingly.
With a quick movement of the other hand, the first
sinister figure removed the handkerchief from his face
and straightened up.
It was Kennedy!
'' Come over to the center of the room,'' ordered
Clutching Hand obeyed, eyeing his captor closely.
" Now lay your weapons on the table.''
He tossed down a revolver.
THE HOUR OF THREE 229
The two still faced each other.
''Take off that handkerchief!''
It was a tense moment. Slowly Clutching Hand
started to obey. Then he stopped. Kennedy was just
about to thunder, '' Go on," when the criminal calmly
remarked, '' YouVe got me all right, Kennedy, but in
twenty minutes Elaine Dodge will be dead ! "
He said it with a nonchalance that might have de-
ceived anyone less astute than Kennedy. Suddenly
there flashed over Craig the words : '' The trick
WILL BE PULLED OFF AT THREE o'CLOCK ! "
There was no fake about that. Kennedy frowned.
If he killed Clutching Hand, Elaine would die. If he
fought, he must either kill or be killed. If he handed
Clutching Hand over, all he had to do was to keep
quiet. He looked at his watch. It was twenty-five
minutes of three.
What a situation !
He had caught a prisoner he dared not molest —
"What do you mean — tell me?'' demanded Ken-
nedy with forced calm.
'' Yesterday Mr. Bennett bought a wrist watch for
Elaine," the Clutching Hand said quietly. '' They left
it to be regulated. One of my men bought one just
like it. Mine was delivered to her today."
'' A likely story ! " doubted Kennedy.
For answer, the Clutching Hand pointed to the tele-
Kennedy reached for it.
'* One thing," interrupted the Clutching Hand.
" You are a man of honor."
'' Yes — yes. Go on."
230 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
^' If I tell you what to do, you must promise to
give me a fighting chance/'
" Yes, yes."
" Call up Aunt Josephine, then. Do just as I say."
Covering Clutching Hand, Kennedy called a num-
ber. '' This is Mr. Kennedy, Mrs. Dodge. Did
Elaine receive a presen of a wrist watch from Mr.
Bennett ? "
'' Yes," she replied, '' for her birthday. It came
Kennedy hung up the receiver and faced Clutching
Hand puzzled as the latter said, '' Call up Martin, the
Again Kennedy obeyed.
*' Has the watch purchased for Miss Elaine Dodge
been delivered ? " he asked the clerk.
" No," came back the reply, " the watch Mr. Bennett
bought is still here being regulated."
Kennedy hung up the receiver. He was stunned.
*' The watch will cause her death at three o'clock,"
said the Clutching Hand. " Swear to leave here with-
out discovering my identity and I will tell you how.
You can save her ! "
A moment Kennedy thought. Here was a quan-
'' No," he shouted, seizing the telephone.
Before Kennedy could move, Clutching Hand had
pulled the telephone wires with almost superhuman
strength from the junction box.
'' In that watch," he hissed, '' I have set a poisoned
needle in a spring that will be released and will plunge
it into her arm at exactly three o'clock. On the needle
is ricinus ! "
THE HOUR OF THREE 231
Craig advanced, furious. As he did so, Clutching
Hand pointed calmly to the clock. It was twenty min-
utes of three ! ''
With a mental struggle, Kennedy controlled his
loathing of the creature before him.
'' All right — but you'll hear from me — sooner than
you suspect,'' he shouted, starting for the door.
Then he came back and lifted his hat, hiding as
much as possible the selenium cell, letting the light
fall on it.
" Only Elaine's life has saved you."
With a last threat he dashed out. He hailed a cab,
returning from some steamship wharves not far away.
'' Quick ! " he ordered, giving the Dodge address on
Minute after minute the police and I waited. Was
anything wrong? Where was Craig?
Just then a tremor grew into a tinkle, then came the
strong burr of the bell. Kennedy needed us.
With a shout of encouragement to the men I dashed
out and over to the old house.
Meanwhile Clutching Hand himself had approached
the table to recover his weapon and had noticed the
queer little selenium cell. He picked it up and for the
first time saw the wire leading out.
'' The deuce! " he cried. '' He's planned to get me
anyhow^ ! ''
Clutching Hand rushed to the door — then stopped
short. Outside he could hear the police and myself.
We had shot the lock on the outside and w^ere already
Clutching Hand slammed shut his door and pulled
232 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
down over it a heavy wooden bar. A few steps took
him to the window. There were police in the back
yard, too. He was surrounded.
But he did not hurry. He knew what to do with
At the desk he paused and took out a piece of card-
board. Then with a heavy black marking pencil, he
calmly printed on it, while we battered at the bar-
ricaded door, a few short feet away.
He laid the sign on the desk, then on another piece
of cardboard, drew crudely a hand with the index fin-
ger, pointing. This he placed on a chair, indicating
Just as the swaying and bulging door gave way,
Clutching Hand gave the desk a pull. It opened up
— his getaway.
He closed it with a sardonic smile in our direction,
just before the door crashed in.
We looked about. There was not a soul in the
room, nothing but the selenium cell, the chairs, the
'' Look! " I cried catching sight of the index finger,
and going over to the desk.
We rolled back the top. There on the flat top was
Kennedy and I couldn't wait.
Yours as ever,
Then came that mysterious sign of the Clutching
We hunted over the rooms, but could find nothing
THE HOUR OF THREE 233
that showed a clue. Where was Clutching Hand?
Where was Kennedy?
In the next house Clutching Hand had literally come
out of an upright piano into the room corresponding
to that he had left. Hastily he threw off his hand-
kerchief, slouch hat, old coat and trousers. A neat
striped pair of trousers replaced the old, frayed and
baggy pair. A new shirt, then a sporty vest and a
frock coat followed. As he put the finishing touches
on, he looked for all the world like a bewhiskered
With a silk hat and stick, he surveyed himself,
straightening his tie. At the door of the new head-
quarters, a few seconds later, I stood with the police.
** Not a sign of him anywhere," growled one of the
Nor was there. Down the street we could see only
a straight well-dressed, distinguished looking man who
had evidently walked down to the docks to see a
friend off, perhaps.
Elaine was sitting in the library reading when Aunt
Josephine turned to her.
" What time is it, dear ? " she asked.
Elaine glanced at her pretty new trinket.
" Nearly three. Auntie — a couple of minutes," she
Just then there came- the sound of feet running
madly down the hall way. They jumped up, startled.
Kennedy, his coat flying, and hat jammed over his
eyes, had almost bowled over poor Jennings in his mad
race down the hall.
"Well," demanded Elaine haughtily, "what's—"
234 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
Before she knew what was going on, Craig hurried
up to her and Hterally ripped the watch off her wrist,
breaking the beautiful bracelet.
He held it up, gingerly. Elaine was speechless.
Was this Kennedy ? Was he possessed by such an in-
ordinate jealousy of Bennett?
As he held the watch up, the second hand ticked
around and the minute hand passed the meridian of the
A viciously sharp little needle gleamed out — then
sprang back into the filigree work again.
** Well," she gasped again, " what's the occasion of
Craig gazed at Elaine in silence.
Should he defend his rudeness, if she did not under-
stand? She stamped her foot, and repeated the ques-
tion a third time.
'' What do you mean, sir, by such conduct? "
Slowly he bowed.
" I just don't like the kind of birthday presents you
receive," he said, turning on his heel. " Good after-
THE BLOOD CRYSTALS
*' On your right is the residence of Miss Elaine
Dodge, the heiress, who is pursuing the famous master
criminal known as the Clutching Hand."
The barker had been grandiloquently pointing out
the residences of noted New Yorkers as the big sight-
THE BLOOD CRYSTALS 235
seeing car lumbered along through the streets. The
car was filled with people and he plied his megaphone
as though he were on intimate terms with all the city's
No one paid any attention to the unobtrusive China-
man who sat inconspicuously in the middle of the car.
He was Mr. Long Sin, but no one saw anything par-
ticularly mysterious about an oriental visitor more or
less viewing New York City.
Long was of the mandarin type, with drooping mus-
tache, well dressed in American clothes, and conform-
ing to the new customs of an occidentalized China.
Anyone, however, who had been watching Long
Sin would have seen that he showed much interest
whenever any of the wealthy residents of the city were
mentioned. The name of Elaine Dodge seemed par-
ticularly to strike him. He listened with subtle in-
terest to what the barker said and looked keenly at
the Dodge house.
The sight-seeing car had passed the house, when
he rose slowly and motioned that he wanted to be
let off. The car stopped, he alighted and slowly ram-
bled away, evidently marvelling greatly at the strange
customs of these uncouth westerners.
Elaine was going out, when she met Perry Bennett
almost on the steps of the house.
'* I've brought you the watch,'' remarked Bennett;
'' thought I'd like to give it to you myself."
He displayed the watch which he himself had bought
a couple of days before for her birthday. He had
called for it himself at the jeweller's where it had now
236 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
'' Oh, thank you/' exclaimed Elaine. '' Won't you
come in ? "
They had scarcely greeted each other, when Long
Sin strolled along. Neither of them, however, had
time to notice the quiet Chinaman who passed the
house, looking at Elaine sharply out of the corner of
his eye. They entered and Long disappeared down the
" Isn't it a beauty ? " cried Elaine, holding it out
from her, as they entered the library and examining it
with great appreciation. '' And, oh, do you know, the
strangest thing happened yesterday? Sometimes Mr.
Kennedy acts too queerly for anything."
She related how Craig had burst in on her and
Aunt Josephine and had almost torn the other watch
off her wrist.
" Another watch ? " repeated Bennett, amazed. ^' It
must have been a mistake. Kennedy is crazy."
" I don't understand it, myself," murmured Elaine.
Long Sin had continued his placid way, revolving
some dark and devious plan beneath his impassive
Oriental countenance. He was no ordinary person-
age. In fact he was astute enough to have no record.
He left that to his tools.
This remarkable criminal had established himself in
a hired apartment downtown. It was furnished in
rather elegant American style, but he had added to it
some most valuable Oriental curios which gave it a
Long Sin, now in rich Oriental costume, was re-
clining on a divan smoking a strange looking pipe
and playing with two pet white rats. Each white rat
THE BLOOD CRYSTALS 2^
had a gold band around his leg, to which was con-
nected a gold chain about a foot in length, and the
chains ended in rings which were slipped over Long's
little fingers. Ordinarily, he carried the pets up the
capacious sleeve of each arm.
A servant, also in native costume, entered and bowed
*' A Miss Mary Carson," she lisped in soft English.
*' Let the lady enter," waved Long Sin, with a smile
of subtle satisfaction.
The girl bowed again and silently left the room,
returning with a handsome, very well dressed white
It would be difficult to analyze just what the fas-
cination was that Long Sin exercised over Mary Car-
son. But as the servant left the room, Mary bowed
almost as deferentially as the little Chinese girl. Long
merely nodded in reply.
After a moment, he slowly rose and took from a
drawer a newspaper clipping. Without a word, he
handed it to Mary. She looked at it with interest, as
one woman always does at the picture of another
pretty woman. It was a newspaper cut of Elaine,
under which was :
ELAINE DODGE, THE HEIRESS^ WHOSE BATTLE WITH
THE CLUTCHING HAND IS CREATING WORLD WIDE
** Now," he began, at last, breaking the silence,
" ril show you just what I want you to do."
He went over to the wall and took down a curious
long Chinese knife from a scabbard which hung there
238 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
" See that ? " he added, holding it up.
Before she could say a word, he had plunged the
knife, apparently, into his own breast.
"Oh!" cried Mary, startled.
She expected to see him fall. But nothing hap-
pened. Long Sin laughed. It was an Oriental trick
knife in which the blade telescoped into the handle.
" Look at it," he added, handing it to her.
Long Sin took a bladder of water from a table
nearby and concealed it under his coat. " Now, you
stab me," he directed.
Mary hesitated. But he repeated the command
and she plunged the knife gingerly at him. It tele-
scoped. He made her try it over and she stabbed more
resolutely. The water from the bladder poured out.
" Good ! " cried Long Sin, much pleased. " Now,"
he added, seating himself beside her, " I want you to
lure Elaine here."
Mary looked at him inquiringly as he returned the
knife to its scabbard on the wall. '' Remember where
it is," he continued. '' Now, if you will come into the
other room I will show you how to get her."
I had been amusing myself by rigging up a contriv-
ance by which I could make it possible to see through
or rather over, a door. The idea had been suggested
to me by the cystoscope which physicians use in order
to look down one's throat, and I had calculated that
by using three mirrors placed at proper angles, I could
easily reflect rays down to the level of my eye.
Kennedy, who had been busy in the other end of the
THE BLOOD CRYSTALS 239
laboratory, happened to look over in my direction.
*' What's the big idea, Walter? " he asked.
It was, I admit, a rather cumbersome and clumsy
*' Well, you see, Craig, '' I explained, '' you put the
top mirror through the transom of a door and — "
Kennedy interrupted with a hearty burst of laughter.
"But suppose the door has no transom?" he asked,
pointing to our own door.
I scratched my head, thoughtfully. I had assumed
that the door would have a transom. A moment later,
Craig went to the cabinet and drew out a tube about
as big around as a putty blower and as long.
" Now, here's what I call my detectascope," he re-
marked. *' None of your mirrors for me.''
'' I know," I said somewhat nettled, '' but what can
you see through that putty blower? A key hole is
just as good."
'' Do you realize how little you can really see through
a key hole?" he replied confidently. ''Try it over
I did and to tell the truth I could see merely a lit-
tle part of the hall. Then Kennedy inserted the de-
'' Look through that," he directed.
I put my eye to the eye-piece and gazed through the
bulging lens of the other end. I could see almost the
'' That," he explained, '' is what is known as a fish-
eye lens — a lens that looks through an angle of some
180 degrees, almost twice that of the widest angle
lens I know of."
240 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
I said nothing, but tossed my own crude invention
into the corner, while Craig went back to work.
Elaine was playing with " Rusty " when Jennings
brought in a card on which was engraved the name,
'^ Miss Mary Carson," and underneath, in pencil, was
written ** Belgian Relief Committee."
*' How interesting," commented Elaine, rising and
accompanying Jennings back into the drawing room.
" I wonder what she wants. Very pleased to meet
you, Miss Carson," she greeted her visitor.
" You see. Miss Dodge," began Mary, " we're get-
ting up this movement to help the Belgians and we
have splendid backing. Just let me show you some of
the names on our committee."
She handed Elaine a list which read:
BELGIAN RELIEF COMMITTEE
Mrs. Warburton Fish
Mrs. Hamilton Beekman
Mrs. C. August Iselin
Mrs. Belmont Rivington
Mrs. Rupert Solvay.
'' I've just been sent to see if I cannot persuade you
to join the committee and attend a meeting at Mrs.
Rivington's," she went on.
''Why, er," considered Elaine thoughtfully, " er —
yes. It must be all right w4th such people in it."
'' Can you go with me now ? "
" Just as well as later," agreed Elaine.
They went out together, and, as they were leaving
THE BLOOD CRYSTALS 241
the house a man who had been loitering outside looked
at Elaine, then fixedly at her companion.
No sooner had they gone than he sped off to a car
waiting around the comer. In the dark depths was
a sinister figure, the master criminal himself. The
watcher had been an emissary of the Clutching Hand.
'^ Chief,'' he whispered eagerly, '* You know Ad-
venturess Mary? Well, she's got Elaine Dodge in
tow ! "
** The deuce ! " cried Clutching Hand. *^ Then we
must teach Mary Carson, or whoever she is working
for, a lesson. No one shall interfere with our af-
fairs. Follow them ! "
Elaine and Mary had gone downtown, talking ani-
matedly, and walked down the avenue toward Mrs.
Meanwhile, Long Sin, still in his Chinese costume,
was explaining to the servant just what he wished
done, pointing out the dagger on the wall and re-
placing the bladder under his jacket. A box of opium
was on the table, and he was giving most explicit di-
rections. It was into such a web that Elaine was be-
ing unwittingly led by Mary.
Entering the hallway of the apartment, Mary rang
Long heard it. " Answer it," he directed the serv-
ant who hastened to do so, while Long glided like a
serpent into a back room.
The servant opened the door and Elaine and Mary
entered. He closed the door and almost before they
knew locked it and was gone into the back room.
Elaine gazed about in trepidation. But before she
242 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
could say anything, Mary, with a great show of sur-
prise, exclaimed, " Why, I must have made a mistake.
This isn't Mrs. Rivington's apartment. How stupid
They looked at each other a moment. Then each
laughed nervously, as together they started to go out
of the door. It was locked !
Quickly they ran to another door. It was locked,
Then they went to the windows. Behind the cur-
tains they were barred and looked out on a blank
brick wall in a little court.
" Oh," cried Mary wringing her hands, stricken in
mock panic, '* oh, I'm so frightened. This may be
the den of Chinese white slavers ! "
She had picked up some Chinese articles on a table,
including the box that Long had left there. It had a
'' Opium ! " she whispered, showing it to Elaine.
The two looked at each other, Elaine genuinely
Just then, the Chinaman entered and stood a mo-
ment gazing at them. They turned and Elaine re-
coiled from him. Long bowed.
" Oh sir," cried Mary, " We've made a mistake.
Can't you tell us how to get out ? "
Long's only answer was to spread out his hands in
polite deprecation and shrug his suave shoulders.
" No speke Englis," he said, gliding out again from
the room and closing the door.
Elaine and Mary looked about in despair.
" What shall we do ? " asked Elaine.
Mary said nothing, but with a hasty glance dis-
THE BLOOD CRYSTALS 243
covered on the wall the knife which Long had already
told her about. She took it from its scabbard. As
she did so the Chinaman returned with a tray on
which were queer drinks and glasses.
At the sight of Mary with the knife he scowled
blackly, laid the tray down, and took a few steps in her
direction. She brandished the knife threateningly,
then, as if her nerve failed her, fainted letting the
knife fall carefully on the floor so that it struck on the
handle and not on the blade.
Long quickly caught her as she fainted and carried
her out of the room, banging shut the door. Elaine
followed in a moment, loyally, to protect her supposed
friend, but found that the door had a snap lock on the
She looked about wildly and in a moment Long re-
appeared. As he advanced slowly and insinuatingly,
she drew back, pleading. But her words fell on seem-
ingly deaf ears.
She had picked up the knife which Mary had
dropped and when at last Long maneuvred to get her
cornered and was about to seize her, she nerved her-
self up and stabbed him resolutely.
Long staggered back — and fell.
As he did so, he pressed the bladder which he had
already placed under his coat. A dark red fluid, like
blood, oozed out all over him and ran in a pool on the
Elaine, too horror-stricken at what had happened
even to scream, dropped the knife and bent over him.
He did not move. She staggered back and ran
through the now open door. As she did so, Long
seemed suddenly to come to life. He raised himself
244 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
and looked after her, then with a subtle smile sank
back into his former assumed posture on the floor.
When Elaine reached the other room, she found
Mary there with the Chinese servant who was giving
her a glass of water. At the sight of her, the servant
paused, then withdrew into another room further
back. Mary, now apparently recovering from her
faintness, smiled wanly at Elaine.
'' It's all right,'' she murmured. " He is a Chinese
prince who thought we were callers."
At the reassuring nod of Mary toward the front
room, Elaine was overcome.
"I — I killed him ! " she managed to gasp.
" What ? " cried Mary, starting up and trembling
violently. '' You killed him? '^
" Yes," sobbed Elaine, '' he came at me — I had the
knife — I struck at him — "
The two girls ran into the other room. There Mary
looked at the motionless body on the floor and re-
Elaine noticing some spots on her hands and seeing
that they were stained by the blood of Long Sin, wiped
the spots off on her hankerchief, dropping it on the
*' Ugh ! " exclaimed a guttural voice behind them.
It was the servant who had come in. Even his or-
dinarily impassive Oriental face could not conceal the
horror and fear at the sight of his master lying on
the floor in a pool of gore. Elaine was now more
frightened than ever, if that were possible.
'' You — kill him — with knife ? " insinuated the
THE BLOOD CRYSTALS 245
Elaine was dumb. The servant did not wait for an
answer, but hastily opened the hall door.
To Elaine it seemed that something must be done
quickly. A moment and all the house would be in
Instead, he placed his finger on his lips. '' Quick
— no word,'' he said, leading the way to the hall door,
'' and — you must not leave that — it will be a clue/'
he added, picking up the bloody handkerchief and
pressing it into Elaine's hand.
They quickly ran out into the hall.
*' Go — quick ! " he urged again, '* and hide the
handkerchief in the bag. Let no one see it ! "
He shut the door. As they hurried away, Elaine
breathed a sigh of relief.
''Why did he let us go, though?" she whispered,
her head in a whirl.
'' I don't know," panted Mary, " but anyhow, thank
heaven, we are out of it. Come," she added, taking
Elaine's arm, " not a soul has seen us except the serv-
ant. Let us get away as quietly as we can."
They had reached the street. Afraid to run, they
hurried as fast as they could until they turned the
Elaine looked back. No one was pursuing.
" We must separate," added Mary. " Let us go
different ways. I will see you later. Perhaps they
will think some enemy has murdered him."
They pressed each other's hands and parted.
Meanwhile in the front room. Long Sin was on his
feet again brushing himself off and mopping up the
246 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
" It worked very well, Sam," he said to the servant.
They were conversing eagerly and laughing and did
not hear a noise in the back room.
A sinister figure had made its way by means of a
fire-escape to a rear window that was not, barred, and
silently he had stolen in on them.
Cat-like, he advanced, but instead of striking at
them, he quietly took a seat in a chair close behind
them, a magazine revolver in his hand.
They turned at a slight noise and saw him. Gen-
uine fright was now on their faces as they looked at
him, open mouthed.
" What's all this ? " he growled. " I am known as
the Clutching Hand. I allow no interferences with
my affairs. Tell me what you are doing here with
Their beady almond eyes flashed fear. Clutching
Hand moved menacingly. There was nothing for the
astute Long Sin to do but to submit. Cowed by the
well-known power of the master criminal, he took
Clutching Hand into his confidence.
With a low bow. Long Sin spread out his hands in
surrender and submission.
" I will tell you, honorable sir," he said at length.
'* Go on ! " growled the criminal.
Quickly Long rehearsed what had happened, from
the moment the idea of blackmail had entered his
"How about Mary Carson?" asked Clutching
Hand. " I saw her here."
Long gave a glance of almost superstitious dread
at the man, as if he had an evil eye.
THE BLOOD CRYSTALS 247
** She will be back — is here now/' he added, open-
ing the door at a knock and admitting her.
Adventuress Mary had hurried back to see that
all was right. This time Mary was genuinely scared
at the forbidding figure of which she had heard.
" It is all right," pacified Long. *' Henceforth we
work with the honorable Clutching Hand.''
Clutching Hand continued to emphasize his demands
on them, punctuating his sentences by flourishes of
the gun as he gave them the signs and passwords which
would enable them to work with his own emissaries.
It was a strange initiation.
At home at last, Elaine sank down into a deep li-
brary chair and stared straight ahead. She saw vi-
sions of arrest and trial, of the terrible electric chair
with herself in it, bound, and of the giving of the fatal
signal for turning on the current.
Were such things as these going to happen to her,
without Kennedy's help? Why had they quarreled?
She buried her face in her hands and wept.
Then she could stand it no longer. She had not
taken off her street clothes. She rose and almost fled
from the house.
Kennedy and I were still in the laboratory when a
knock sounded at the door. I went to the door and
opened it. There stood Elaine Dodge.
It was a complete surprise to Craig. There was
silence between them for a moment and they merely
looked at each other. Elaine was pale and woebe-
At last Kennedy took a quick step toward her and
248 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
led her to a chair. Still he felt a sort of constraint.
" What is the matter? '' he asked at length.
She hesitated, then suddenly burst out, '' Craig — I
— I am — a murderess ! "
I have never seen such a look on Craig's face. I
know he wanted to laugh and say, '' You — a mur-
deress ? " yet he would not have offended even her self
accusation for the world. He managed to do the
right thing and say nothing.
Then she poured forth the story substantially as I
have set it down, but without the explanation which
at that time was not known to any of us.
'' Oh," expostulated Craig, " there must be some
mistake. It's impossible — impossible.'*
'* No,'' she asserted. " Look — here's my handker-
chief all spotted with blood."
She opened the bag and displayed the blood-spotted
handkerchief. He took it and examined it carefully.
'' Elaine," he said earnestly, not at all displeased, I
could see that something had come up that might
blot out the past unfortunate misunderstanding,
'' there simply must be something wrong here. Leave
this handkerchief with me. I'll do my best."
There was still a little restraint between them. She
was almost ready to beg his pardon, for all the cool-
ness there had been between them, yet still hesitated.
" Thank you," she said simply as she left the labora-
Craig went to work abruptly without a word.
On the laboratory table he placed his splendid mi-
croscope and several cases of slides as well as innu-
THE BLOOD CRYSTALS 249
merable micro-photographs. He had been working for
some time when he looked up.
" Ever hear of Dr. Edward Reichert of the Uni-
versity of Pennsylvania and his wonderful discoveries
of how blood crystals vary in different species ? '* he
I had not, but did not admit it.
'' Well/' he went on, " there is a blood test so deli-
cate that one might almost say that he could identify
a criminal by the finger prints, so to speak, of his
blood crystals. The hemoglobin or red coloring mat-
ter forms crystals and the variations of these crystals
both in form and molecular construction are such that
they set apart every species of animal from every
other, and even the races of men — perhaps may even
set apart individuals. Here, Walter, we have sample
of human blood crystals."
I looked through the microscope as he directed.
There I could see the crystals sharply defined.
*' And here,'' he added, '' are the crystals of the
blood on Elaine's handkerchief."
I looked again as he changed the slides. There was
a marked diflference and I looked up at him quickly.
*' It is dog's blood — not human blood," he said
I looked again at the two sets of slides. There
could be no doubt that there was a plain diflference.
** Wonderful ! " I exclaimed.
" Yes — wonderful," he agreed, '' but what's the
game back of all this — that's the main question now."
Long after Clutching Hand had left. Long Sin was
giving instructions to his servant and Adventuress
250 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
Mary just how he had had to change his plans as a re-
sult of the unexpected visit.
" Very well/' nodded Mary as she left him, '' I will
do as you say — trust me."
It was not much later, then, that Elaine received a
second visit from Mary.
*^ Show her in, Jennings,'' she said to the butler
Indeed, she felt that every eye must be upon her.
Even Jennings would know of her guilt soon.
Anxiously, therefore, Elaine looked at her visitor.
" Do you know why the servant allowed us to leave
the apartment? " whispered Mary with a glance about
fearfully, as if the walls had ears.
" No — why ? " inquired Elaine anxiously.
" He's a tong man who has been chosen to do away
with the Prince. He followed me, and says you have
done his work for him. If you will give him ten thou-
sand dollars for expenses, he will attend to hiding the
Here at least was a way out.
" But do you think that is all right ? Can he do it ? "
asked Elaine eagerly.
'' Do it? Why those tong men can do anything for
money. Only one must be careful not to offend
Mary was very convincing.
" Yes, I suppose you are right," agreed Elaine,
finally. " I had better do as you say. It is the safest
way out of the trouble. Yes, I'll do it. I'll stop at
the bank now and get the money."
They rose and Mary preceded her, eager to get
away from the house. At the door, however, Elaine
THE BLOOD CRYSTALS 251
asked her to wait while she ran back on some pretext.
In the library she took off the receiver of the tele-
phone and quickly called a number.
Our telephone rang in the middle of our conversa-
tion on blood crystals and Kennedy himself answered
It was Elaine asking Craig's advice.
'' They have offered to hush the thing up for ten
thousand dollars/" she said, in a muffled voice.
She seemed bent on doing it and no amount of ar-
gument from him could stop her. She simply refused
to accept the evidence of the blood crystals as better
than what her own eyes told her she had seen and
'' Then wait for half an hour," he answered, with-
out arguing further. '' You can do that without ex-
citing suspicion. Go with her to her hotel and hand
her over the money."
''All right — I'll do it," she agreed.
"What is the hotel?"
Craig wrote on a slip of paper what she told him —
" Room 509, Hotel La Coste."
" Good — I'm glad you called me. Count on me,"
he finished as he hung up the receiver.
Hastily he threw on his street coat. '' Go into the
back room and get me that brace and bit, Walter," he
I did so. When I returned, I saw that he had
placed the detectascope and some other stufif in a bag.
He shoved in the brace and bit also.
" Come on — hurry ! " he urged.
We must have made record time in getting to the
252 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
Coste. It was an ornate place, where merely to
breathe was expensive. We entered and by some ex-
cuse Kennedy contrived to get past the vigilant bell-
hops. We passed the telephone switchboard and en-
tered the elevator, getting oflf at the fifth floor.
With a hasty glance up and down the corridor, to
make sure no one was about, Kennedy came to room
509, then passed to the next, 511, opening the door
with a skeleton key. We entered and Craig locked
the door behind us. It was an ordinary hotel room,
but well-furnished. Fortunately it was unoccupied.
Quietly Craig went to the door which led to the
next room. It was, of course, locked also. He lis-
tened a moment carefully. Not a sound. Quickly,
with an exclamation of satisfaction, he opened that
door also and went into 509.
This room was much like that in which we had al-
ready been. He opened the hall door.
'' Watch here, Walter," he directed. " Let me know
at the slightest alarm."
Craig had already taken the brace and bit from the
bag and started to bore through the wall into room
511, selecting a spot behind a picture of a Spanish
dancer — a spot directly back of her snapping black
eyes. He finished quickly and inserted the detecta-
scope so that the lens fitted as an eye in the picture.
The eye piece was in Room 511. Then he started to
brush up the pieces of plaster on the floor.
*' Craig," I whispered hastily as I heard an elevator
door, '' someone's coming ! "
He hurried to the door and looked. '' There they
are," he said, as we saw Elaine and Mary rounding
the corner of the hall.
THE BLOOD CRYSTALS 25.3
Across the hall, although we did not know it at
the time, in room 540, already. Long Sin had taken
up his station, just to be handy. There he had been
with his servant, playing with his two trained white
Long placed them up his capacious sleeves and care-
fully opened the door to look out. Unfortunately he
wa 'ast in time to see the door of 509 open and dis-
His subtle glance detected our presence without
our knowing it.
Hastily picking up the brace and bit and the rest
of the debris, and with a last look at the detectascope,
which was hardly noticeable, even if one already knew
it was there, we hurried into 511 and shut the door.
Kennedy mounted a chair and applied his eye to the
detectascope. Just then Mary and Elaine entered the
next room, Mary opening the door with a regular
'' Won't you step in ? '' she asked.
Elaine did so and Mary hesitated in the hall. Long
Sin had slipped out on noiseless feet and taken refuge
behind some curtains. As he saw her alone, he
beckoned to Mary.
'' There's a stranger in the next room," he whis-
pered. '' I don't like him. Take the money and as
quickly as possible get out and go to my apartment."
At the news that there was a suspicious stranger
about, Mary showed great alarm. Everything was so
rapid, now, that the slightest hesitation meant disaster.
Perhaps, by quickness, even a suspicious stranger
could be fooled, she reasoned. At any rate, Long Sin
was resourceful. She had better trust him.
254 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
Mary followed Elaine into the room, where she had
seated herself already, and locked the door.
'* Have you the money there ? " she asked.
" Yes," nodded Elaine, taking out the package of
bills which she had got from the bank during the half
All this we could see by gazing alternately through
Elaine handed Mary the money. Mary counted it
slowly. At last she looked up.
'' It's all right,'' she said. '' Now, Til take this to
that tong leader — he's in a room only just across the
She went out.
Kennedy at the detectascope was very excited as
this went on. He now jumped off the chair on which
he had been standing and rushed to the door to head
To our surprise, in spite of the fact that we could
turn the key in the lock, it vv^as impossible to open it !
It was only a moment that Craig paused at the
door. The next moment he burst into 509, followed
closely by me.
With a scream, Elaine was on her feet in an instant.
There was no time for explanations, however.
He rushed to the door to go out, but it was locked
— somehow, on the outside. The skeleton key would
not work, at any rate.
He shot the lock, and dashed out, calling back,
** Walter, stay there — with Elaine."
Mary had just succeeded in getting on the elevator
as Kennedy hurried down the hall. The door was
THE BLOOD CRYSTALS 255
dosed and the car descended. He rang the push bell
furiously, but there was no answer.
Had he got so far in the chase, only to be outwitted ?
He dashed back to the room, with us, and jerked
down the telephone receiver.
^^Hello — hello — hello!" he called.
There seemed to be no way to get a connection.
What was the matter?
He hurried down the hall again.
No sooner had Elaine and Mary actually gone into
the room, than Long and his servant stole out of 540,
across the hall. Somewhere they had obtained a
strong but thin rope.
Quickly and silently Long tied the handle of the
door 511 in which we were to the handle of 540 which
he was vacating. As both doors opened inward and
were opposite, they were virtually locked.
Then Long and his servant hurried down the hall-
way to the elevator.
Down in the hotel lobby, with his followers, the
Chinaman paused before the telephone switchboard
where two girls were at work.
'' You may go," ordered Long, and, as his man left,
he moved over closer to the switchboard.
He was listening eagerly and also watching an in-
dicator that told the numbers of the rooms which
called, as they flashed into view.
Just as a call from " 509 " flashed up, Long slipped
the rings off his little fingers and loosened the white
rats on the telephone switchboard itself.
256 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
With a shriek, the telephone system of the Coste
went temporarily out of business.
The operators fled to the nearest chairs, drawing
their skirts about them.
There was the greatest excitement among all the
women in the corridor. Such a display of hosiery
was never contemplated by even the most daring cos-
Shouts from the bellboys who sought to catch the
rats who scampered hither and thither in frightened
abandon mingled with the shrieks of the ladies.
Kennedy had succeeded in finding the alcove of the
floor clerk in charge of the fifth floor. There on his
desk was an instrument having a stylus on the end of
two arms, connected to a system of magnets. It was
Unceremoniously, Craig pushed the clerk out of his
seat and sat down himself. It was a last chance, now
that the telephone was out of commission.
Downstairs, in the hotel office, where the excite-
ment had not spread to everyone, was the other end of
the electric long distance writer.
It started to write, as Kennedy wrote, upstairs :
" House detective — quick — hold woman with
blue chatelaine bag, getting out of elevator."
The clerks downstairs saw it and shouted above the
din of the rat-baiting.
"McCann — McCann!"
The clerk had torn off the message from the tel-
autograph register, and handed it to the house man
who- pushed his way to the desk.
Quickly the detective called to the bell-hops. To-
gether they hurried after the well-dressed woman who
THE BLOOD CRYSTALS 257
had just swept out of the elevator. Mary had al-
ready passed through the excited lobby and out, and
was about to cross the street — safe.
McCann and the bell-hops were now in full cry after
her. Flight was useless. She took refuge in indigna-
tion and threats.
But McCann was obdurate. She passed quickly to
tears and pleadings. It had no effect. They insisted
on leading her back. The game was up.
Even an offer of money failed to move their ada-
mantine hearts. Nothing would do but that she must
face her accusers.
In the meantime Long Sin had recovered his pre-
cious and useful pets. Life in the Coste had assumed
something of its normal aspect, and Craig had suc-
ceeded in getting an elevator.
It was just as Mary was led in threatening and
pleading by turns that he stepped off in the lobby.
There was, however, still just enough excitement to
cover a little pantomime. Long Sin had been about to
slip out of a side door, thinking all was well, when he
caught sight of Mary being led back. She had also
seen him, and began to struggle again.
Quickly he shook his head, indicating for her to
stop. Then slowly he secretly made the sign of the
Clutching Hand at her. It meant that she must not
She obeyed instantly, and he quietly disappeared.
** Here,'' cried Kennedy, " take her up in the ele-
vator, ril prove the case."
With the house detective and Kennedy, Mary was
hustled into the elevator and whisked back as she had
258 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
In the meantime I had gathered up what stuff we
had in the room we had entered and had returned with
" Wh — what's it all about ? " inquired Elaine ex-
I tried to explain.
Just then, out in the hall we could hear loud voices,
and that of Mary above the rest. Kennedy, a man
who looked like a detective, and some bell-boys were
leading her toward us.
'' Now — not a word of who she is in the papers,
McCann,'' Kennedy was saying, evidently about Elaine.
'* You know it wouldn't sound well for La Coste. As
for that woman — well, I've got the money back.
You can take her off — make the charge."
As the house man left with Mary, I handed Craig
his bag. We moved toward the door, and as we stood
there a moment with Elaine, he quietly handed over to
her the big roll of bills.
She took it, with surprise still written in her big
blue eyes. '' Oh — thank you — I might have known
it was only a blackmail scheme," she cried eagerly^
Craig held out his hand and she took it quickly, gaz-
ing into his eyes. Craig bowed politely, not quite
knowing what to do under the circumstances.
If he had been less of a scientist, he might have
understood the look on her face, but, with a nod to
me, he turned, and went.
As she looked first at him, then at the paltry ten
thousand in her hand, Elaine stamped her little foot
" I'm glad I didn't say anything more," she cried.
" No — no — he shall beg my pardon first — there ! "
THE DEVIL WORSHIPPERS 259
THE DEVIL WORSHIPPERS
Elaine was seated in the drawing room with Aunt
Josephine one afternoon, when her lawyer, Perry Ben-
nett, dropped in unexpectedly.
He had hardly greeted them when the butler, Jen-
nings, in his usual impassive manner announced that
Aunt Josephine was wanted on the telephone.
No sooner were Elaine and Bennett alone, than
Elaine, turning to him, exclaimed impulsively, '' I'm
so glad you have come. I have been longing to see
you and to tell you about a strange dream I have had."
" What was it?" he asked, with instant interest.
Leaning back in her chair and gazing before her
tremulously, Elaine continued, '' Last night, I dreamed
that father came to me and told me that if I would
give up Kennedy and put my trust in you, I would
find the Clutching Hand. I don't know what to think
Bennett, who had been listening intently, remained
silent for a few moments. Then, putting down his tea
cup, he moved over nearer to Elaine and bent over
" Elaine," he said in a low tone, his remarkable eyes
looking straight into her own, " you must know that I
love you. Then give me the right to protect you.
It was your father's dearest wish, I believe, that we
should marry. Let me share your dangers and I
swear that sooner or later there will be an end to the
Clutching Hand. Give me your answer, Elaine," he
26o THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
urged, '' and make me the happiest man in all the
Elaine listened, and not unsympathetically, as Ben-
nett continued to plead for her answer.
'' Wait a little while — until to-morrow," she replied
finally, as if overcome by the recollections of her
weird dream and the unexpected sequel of his pro-
" Let it be as you wish, then," agreed Bennett
He took her hand and kissed it passionately.
An instant later Aunt Josephine returned. Elaine,
unstrung by what had happened, excused herself and
went into the library.
She sank into one of the capacious arm chairs, and
passing her hand wearily over her throbbing forehead,
closed her eyes in deep thought. Involuntarily, her
mind travelled back over the rapid succession of events
of the past few weeks and the part that she had
thought, at least, Kennedy had come to play in her life.
Then she thought of their recent misunderstanding.
Might there not be some simple explanation of it, after
all, which she had missed ? What should she do ?
She solved the problem by taking up the telephone
and asking for Kennedy's number.
I was chatting with Craig in his laboratory, and, at
the same time, was watching him in his experimental
work. Just as a call came on the telephone, he was
pouring some nitro-hydrochloric acid into a test tube
to complete a reaction.
The telephone tinkled and he laid down the bottle
THE DE\TL WORSHIPPERS 261
of acid on his desk, while he moved a few steps to
answer the call.
Whoever the speaker was, Craig seemed deeply in-
terested, and, not knowing who was talking on the
wire, I was eager to learn whether it was anyone con-
nected with the case of the Clutching Hand.
" Yes, this is Mr. Kennedy/' I heard Craig say.
I moved over toward him and whispered eagerly,
'' Is there anything new ? ''
A little impatient at being interrupted, Kennedy
w^aved me off. It occurred to me that he might need
a pad and pencil to make a note of some information
and I reached over the desk for them.
As I did so my arm inadvertently struck the bottle
of acid, knocking it over on the top of the dask. Its
contents streamed out saturating the telephone wires
before I could prevent it. In trying to right the bot-
tle my hand came in contact with the acid which
burned like liquid fire, and I cried out in pain.
Craig hastily laid down the receiver, seized me and
rushed me to the back of the laboratory where he
drenched my hand with a neutralizing liquid.
He bound up the wounds caused by the acid, which
proved to be slight, after all, and then returned to the
To his evident annoyance, he discovered that the
acid had burned through the wires and cut oflF all con-
Though I did not know it, my hand was, in a sense
at least, the hand of fate.
At the other end of the line, Elaine was listening
impatiently for a response to her first eager words of
262 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
inquiry. She was astounded to find, at last, that Ken-
nedy had apparently left the telephone without any
explanation or apology.
'' Why — he rang off/' she exclaimed angrily to her-
self, as she hung up the receiver and left the room.
She rejoined her Aunt Josephine and Bennett who
had been chatting together in the drawing room, still
wondering at the queer rebuff she had, seemingly, ex-
Bennett rose to go, and, as he parted from Elaine,
found an opportunity to whisper a few words remind-
ing her of her promised reply on the morrow.
Piqued, at Kennedy, she flashed Bennett a meaning
glance which gave him to understand that his suit
was not hopeless.
In the center of a devious and winding way, quite
unknown to all except those who knew the innermost
secrets of the Chinese quarter and even unknown to
the police, there was a dingy tenement house, ap-
parently inhabited by hardworking Chinamen, but in
reality the headquarters of the notorious devil wor-
shippers, a sect of Satanists, banned even in the Ce-
The followers of the cult comprised some of the
most dangerous Chinese criminals, thugs, and assas-
sins, besides a number of dangerous characters who
belonged to various Chinese secret societies. At the
head of this formidable organization was Long Sin,
the high priest of the Devil God, and Long Sin had,
as we knew, already joined forces with the notorious
The room in which the uncanny rites of the devil
THE DE\TL WORSHIPPERS 263
worshippers were conducted w^as a large apartment
decorated in Chinese style, with highly colored por-
traits of some of the devil deities and costly silken
hangings. Beside a large dais depended a huge Chi-
On the dais itself stood, or rather sat, an ugly look-
ing figure covered with some sort of metallic plating.
It almost seemed to be the mummy of a Chinaman
covered with gold leaf. It was thin and shrunken,
Into this room came Long Sin attired in an elaborate
silken robe. He advanced and kowtowed before the
dais with its strange figure, and laid down an offering
before it, consisting of punk sticks, little dishes of
Chinese cakes, rice, a jar of oil, and some cooked
chicken and pork. Then he bowed and kowtowed
This performance was witnessed by twenty or
thirty Chinamen who knelt in the rear of the room.
As Long Sin finished his devotions they filed past the
dais, bowing and scraping with every sign of abject
reverence both for the devil deity and his high priest.
At the same time an aged Chinaman carrying a
prayer wheel entered the place and after prostrating
himself devoutedly placed the machine on a sort of
low stool or tabourette and began turning it slowly,
muttering. Each revolution of this curious wheel was
supposed to offer a prayer to the god of the nether-
A few moments later. Long Sin, who had been bow-
ing before the metallic figure in deepest reverence,
suddenly sprang to his feet. His glazed eye and ex-
264 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
cited manner indicated that he had received a message
from the Hps of the strange idol.
The worshippers who had prostrated themselves in
awe at the sight of their high priest in the unholy
frenzy, all rose to their feet and crowded forward.
At the same time Long Sin advanced a step to meet
them, holding his arms outstretched as if to compel
silence while he delivered his message.
Long Sin struck several blows on the resounding
gong and then raised his voice in solemn tones.
*' Ksing Chau, the Terrible, demands a consort.
She is to be foreign — fair of face and with golden
Amazed at this unexpected message, the Chinamen
prostrated themselves again and their unhallowed de-
votions terminated a few moments later amid sup-
pressed excitement as they filed out.
At the same time, in a room of the adjoining house,
the Clutching Hand himself was busily engaged mak-
ing the most elaborate preparations for some nefarious
scheme which his fertile mind had evolved.
The room had been fitted up as a medium's seance
parlor, with black hangings on the walls, while at one
side there was a square cabinet of black cloth, with
a guitar lying before it.
Two of the Clutching Hand's most trusted con-
federates and a hard-faced woman of middle age,
dressed in plain black, were putting the finishing
touches to this apartment, when their Chief entered.
Clutching Hand gazed about the room, now and
then giving an order or two to make more effective the
setting for the purpose which he had in mind.
THE DEVIL WORSHIPPERS 265
Finally he nodded in approval and stepped over to
the fire place where logs were burning brightly in a
Pressing a spring in the mantelpiece, the master
criminal effected an instant transformation. The logs
in the fireplace^ still burning, disappeared immediately
through the side of the brick tiling and a metal sheet
covered them. An aperture opened at the back, as if
Through this opening Clutching Hand made his way
quickly and disappeared.
Emerging on the other side of the peculiar fire-
place, Clutching Hand pushed aside a curtain which
barred the way and looked into the Chinese temple,
taking up a position behind the metallic figure on the
The Chinamen had by this time finished their devo-
tions, if such they might be called, and the last one
was leaving, while Long Sin stood alone on the dais.
The noise of the departing Satanists had scarcely
died away when Clutching Hand stepped out.
'' Follow me,'' he ordered hoarsely seizing Long Sin
by the arm and leading him away.
They passed through the passageway of the fire-
place and, having entered the seance room, Clutching
Hand began briefly explaining the purpose of the prep-
arations that had been made. Long Sin wagged his
head in voluble approval.
As Clutching Hand finished, the Chinaman turned
to the hard-faced woman who was to act the part of
medium and added some directions to those Clutching
Hand had already given.
The medium nodded acquiescence, and a moment
266 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
later, left the room to carry out some ingenious plot
framed by the master mind of the criminal world.
Elaine was standing in the library gazing sadly at
Kennedy's portrait, thinking over recent events and
above all the rebuff over the telephone which she sup-
posed she had received.
It all seemed so unreal to her. Surely, she felt in
her heart, she could not have been so mistaken in
the man. Yet the facts seemed to speak for them-
In spite of it all, she was almost about to kiss the
portrait when something seemed to stay her hands.
Instead she laid the picture down, with a sigh.
A moment later, Jennings entered with a card on a
salver. Elaine took it and saw with surprise the name
of her caller:
MADAME SAVETSKY, MEDIUM
Beneath the engraved name were the words written
in ink, *^ I have a message from the spirit of your
*' Yes, I will see her,'' cried Elaine eagerly, in re-
sponse to the butler's inquiry.
She followed Jennings into the adjoining room and
there found herself face to face with the hard-featured
woman who had only a few moments before left the
Elaine looked rather than spoke her inquiry.
*' Your father, my dear," purred the medium with
a great pretence of suppressed excitement, " appeared
to me, the other night, from the spirit world. I was
THE DEVIL WORSHIPPERS 267
in a trance and he asked me to deliver a message to
''What was the message?" asked Elaine breath-
lessly, now aroused to intense interest.
" I must go into a trance again to get it/' replied the
insinuating Savetsky% '' and if you like I can try it
at once, provided we can be left alone long enough."
'' Please — don't wait," urged Elaine, pulling the
portieres of the doors closer, as if that might insure
Seated in her chair, the medium muttered wildly for
a few moments, rolled her eyes and with some con-
vulsive movements pretended to go into a trance.
Savetsky seemed about to speak and Elaine, in the
highest state of nervous tension, listened, trying to
make something of the gibberish mutterings.
Suddenly the curtains were pushed aside and Aunt
Josephine and Bennett, who had just come in, entered.
'' I can do nothing here," exclaimed Savetsky, start-
ing up and looking about severely. " You must come
to my seance chamber where we shall not be inter-
'' I will," cried Elaine, vexed at the intrusion at that
moment. *' I must have that message — I must."
''What's all this, Elaine?" demanded Aunt Jo-
Hurriedly, Elaine poured forth to her aunt and Ben-
nett the story of the medium's visit and the promised
message from her father in the other world.
Aunt Josephine, who was not one easily to be im-
posed on, strongly objected to Elaine's proposal to ac-
company Savetsky to the seance chamber, but Elaine
268 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
would not be denied. She pleaded with her aunt, urg-
ing that she be allowed to go.
'' It might be safe for Elaine to go/' Bennett finally-
suggested to Aunt Josephine, '' if you and I accom- i
All this time the medium was listening closely to
the conversation. Elaine looked at her inquiringly.
With a shrug, she indicated that she had no objection
to having Elaine escorted to the parlor by her friends.
At last Aunt Josephine, influenced by Elaine's plead-
ings and Bennett's suggestion, gave in and agreed to
join in the visit.
A few moments later, in the Dodge car, Elaine, the
medium, and her two escorts started for the Chinese
At the house, the medium opened the door with her
key and ushered in her three visitors.
Long Sin who had been watching for their arrival
from the window now hastily withdrew from the se-
ance room and disappeared behind the black curtains.
Entering the room the medium at once prepared for
the seance by pulling down the window shades. Then
she seated herself in a chair beside the cabinet, and
appeared to fall off slowly into a trance.
Her strange proceedings were watched with the
greatest curiosity by Elaine as well as Aunt Josephine
and Bennett, who had taken seats placed at one side
of the room.
The room itself was dimly lighted, and the curtains
of the cabinet seemed, in the obscurity, to sway back
and forth as if stirred by some ghostly breeze.
THE DEVIL WORSHIPPERS 269
All of them were now quite on edge with excite-
Suddenly an indistinct face was seen to be peering
through the black curtains, as it were.
The guitar, as if lifted by an invisible hand, left the
cabinet, floated about close to the ceiling, and returned
again. It was eerie.
At last a voice, deep, sepulchral, was heard in slow
and solemn tones.
''I am Eeko — the spirit of Taylor Dodge. I will
give no message until one named Josephine leaves the
No sooner had the words been uttered than the
medium came writhing out of her trance.
'' What happened ? " she asked, looking at Elaine.
Elaine reported the spirit's words.
'' We can get nothing if your Aunt stays here,"
Savetsky added, insisting that Aunt Josephine must
go. '' Your father cannot speak while she is present."
Aunt Josephine, annoyed by what she had heard, in-
dignantly refused to go and was deaf to all Elaine's
'' I think it will be all right," finally acquiesced Ben-
nett, seeing how bent Elaine was on securing the mes-
sage. *' I'll stay and protect her."
Aunt Josephine finally agreed. '' Very well, then,"
she protested, marching out of the room in a high
state of indignation.
She had scarcely left the house, however, when she
began to suspect that all was not as it ought to be.
In fact, the idea had no sooner occurred to her than
she decided to call on Kennedy and she ordered the
270 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
chauffeur to take her as quickly as possible to the
Kennedy had not been in the laboratory all the day,
after my experience with the acid and I was impa-
tiently awaiting his arrival. At last there came a
knock at the door and I opened it hurriedly. There
was a messenger boy who handed me a note. I tore
it open. It was from Kennedy and read, " I shall
probably be away for two or three days. Call up
Elaine and tell her to beware of a certain Madame
I was still puzzling over the note and was just about
to call up Elaine when the speaking tube was blown
and to my surprise I found it was Aunt Josephine who
"Where is Mr. Kennedy?" she asked, greatly agi-
'' He has gone away for a few days," I replied
blankly. " Is there anything I can do ? "
She was very excited and hastily related what had
happened at the parlor of the medium.
" What was her name ? " I asked anxiously.
*' Madame Savetsky," she replied, to my surprise.
Astounded, I picked up Craig's note from the desk
and handed it to her without a word. She read it
with breathless eagerness.
'' Come back there with me, please," she begged, al-
most frantic with fear now. " Something terrible may
Aunt Josephine had hardly left Savetsky when the
trance was resumed and, in a few minutes, there came
THE DEVIL WORSHIPPERS 271
all sorts of supernatural manifestations. The table
beside Elaine began to turn and articles on it dropped
to the floor. Violent rappings followed in various
parts of the room. Both Elaine and Bennett who sat
together in silence were much impressed by the marvel-
lous phenomena — not being able to see, in the dark-
ness, the concealed wires that made them possible.
Suddenly, from the mysterious shadows of the
cabinet, there appeared the spirit of Long Sin, whose
death Elaine still believed she had caused when Ad-
venturess Mary had lured her to the apartment.
Elaine was trembling with fear at the apparition.
As before, a strange voice sounded in the depths of
the cabinet and again a message was heard, in low,
'' I am Keka, and I have with me Long Sin. His
blood cries for vengeance.''
Elaine was overcome with horror at the words.
From the cabinet ran a thick stream of red, like
blood, from which she recoiled, shuddering.
Then a dim, ghostly figure, apparently that of Long
Sin, appeared. The face was horribly distorted. It
seemed to breathe the very odor of the grave.
With arms outstretched, the figure glided from the
cabinet and approached Elaine. She shrank back
further in fright, too horrified even to scream.
At the same moment, the medium drew a vapor
pistol from her dress, and, as the ghost of Long Sin
leaped at Elaine, Savetsky darted forward and shot a
stream of vapor full in Bennett's face.
Bennett dropped unconscious, the lights in the dark-
ened room flashed up, and several of the men of the
Clutchingf Hand rushed in.
2^2 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
Quickly the fireplace was turned on its cleverly con-
structed hinges, revealing the hidden passage.
Before any effective resistance could be made,
Elaine and Bennett were hustled through the passage,
securely bound, and placed on a divan in a curtained
chamber back of the altar of the devil worshippers.
There they lay when Long Sin, now in his priestly
robes, entered. He looked at them a moment. Then
he left the room with a sinister laugh.
It was at that moment that I, little dreaming of what
had been taking place, arrived with Aunt Josephine at
the house of the medium.
She answered my ring and admitted us. To our
surprise, the seance room was empty.
*' Where is the young lady who was here ? " I asked.
" Miss Dodge and the gentleman just left a few
minutes ago," the medium explained, as we looked
She seemed eager to satisfy us that Elaine was n-ot
there. Apparently there was no excuse for disputing
her word, but, as we turned to leave, I happened to
notice a torn handkerchief lying on the floor near the
fireplace. It flashed over me that perhaps it might
afford a clue.
As I passed it, I purposely dropped my soft hat over
it and picked up the hat, securing the handkerchief
without attracting Savetsky's attention.
Aunt Josephine was keen now for returning home
to find out whether Elaine was there or not. No
sooner had she entered the car and driven off, than I
examined the handkerchief. It was torn, as if it had
been crushed in the hand during a struggle and
THE DEVIL WORSHIPPERS 273
wrenched away. I looked closer. In the corner was
the initial, '' E.''
That was enough. Without losing another precious
moment I hurried around to the nearest police station,
where I happened to be known, having had several
assignments for the Star in that part of the city, and
gave an alarm.
The sergeant detailed several roundsmen, and a man
in plainclothes, and together we returned to the house,
laying a careful plan to surround it secretly, while the
plainclothesman and I obtained admittance.
Meanwhile, the Chinese devil worshippers had again
gathered in their cursed temple and Long Sin, in his
priestly robe, appeared on the dais.
The worshippers kowtowed reverently to him, while
at the back again stood the aged Chinaman patiently
turning his prayer wheel.
Two braziers, or smoke pots, had been placed on the
dais, one of which Long Sin touched with a stick
causing it to burst out into dense fumes.
Standing before them, he chanted in nasal tones,
" The white consort of the great Ksing Chau has been
found. It is his will that she now be made his."
As he finished intoning the message. Long Sin
signaled to two young Chinamen to go into the ante-
room. A moment later they returned with Elaine.
Frightened though she was, Elaine made no attempt
to struggle, even when they had cut her bonds. She
was busily engaged in seeking some method of escape.
Her eyes travelled over the place quickly. Appar-
ently, there was no means of exit that was not guarded.
Long Sin saw her look, and smiled quietly.
274 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
They had carried her up to the dais, and now Long
Sin faced her and sternly ordered her to kowtow to
the gruesome metalHc figure.
She refused, but instantly the Chinamen seized her
arm and twisted it, until they had compelled her to
fall to her knees.
Having forced her to kowtow, Long Sin turned to
the assembled devil dancers.
'' With magic and rare drugs,'' he chanted, '' she
shall be made to pass beyond and her body encased in
precious gold shall be the consort of Ksing Chau —
forever and ever."
He made another sign and several pots and braziers
were brought out and placed on the dais beside Elaine.
She was, by this time, completely overcome by the
horror of the situation. There was apparently no es-
With callous deviltry, the oriental satanists had
made every arrangement for embalming and preserv^-
ing the body of Elaine. Pots filled with sticky black
material were slowly heated, amid weird incantations,
while other Chinamen laid out innumerable sheets of
At last all seemed to be in readiness to proceed.
*' Hold her," ordered Long Sin in guttural Chinese
to the two attendants, as he approached her.
Long Sin held in his hand a small, profusely
decorated pot from which smoke was escaping. As
he approached he passed this receptacle under her nose
once, twice, three times.
Gradually Elaine fell into unconsciousness.
While Elaine was facing death in the power of the
^^^/ J. ' ^^^
THE DEVIL WORSHIPPERS 275
devil worshippers, I had reached the house of Savetsky
next door with the police, and the place had been
With the plainclothesman, a daring and intelligent
fellow, I went to the door and rang the bell.
'' What can I do for you ? '' asked the medium, ad-
'' My friend, here," I parleyed, " is in great business
trouble. Can your controlling spirit give him ad-
We had managed to gain the interior of the seance
room, and I suppose there was nothing else for her to
say, under the circumstances, but, '' Why — yes, — if
the conditions are good, the control can probably tell
us just what he wants to know."
Savetsky set to work preparing the room for a
seance. As she moved over to the window to pull
down the shades, she must have caught sight of one
or two of the policemen who had incautiously exposed
themselves from the hiding places in which I had dis-
posed them before we entered. At any rate, Savetsky
did not lose a jot of her remarkable composure.
" I'm sorry," she remarked merely, '' but Tm afraid
my control is weak and cannot work today."
She took a step toward the door, motioning us to
leave. Neither of us paid any attention to that hint,
but remained seated as we had been before.
" Go ! " she exclaimed at length, for the first time
showing a trace of nervousness.
Evidently her suspicions had been fully confirmed
by our actions. We tried to argue with her to gain
time. But it was of no use.
Almost before I knew what she was doing, she made
276 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
a dash for something in the corner of the room. It
was time for open action, and I seized her quickly.
My detective was on his feet in an instant.
'' I'll take care of her/' he ground out, seizing her
wrists in his vice-like grasp. '' You give the signal.''
I rushed to the window, threw up the shade and
opened the sash, waving our preconcerted sign, turning
again toward the room.
With a sudden accession of desperate strength,
Savetsky broke away from the plainclothesman and
again attempted to get at something concealed on the
wall. I had turned just in time to fling myself between
her and whatever object she had in mind.
As the detective took her again and twisted her arm
until she cried out in pain, I hastily investigated the
wall. She had evidently been attempting to press a
button that rang a concealed bell.
What did it all mean?
Elaine, now completely unconscious, was being held
by the Chinamen, while her arm was smeared with
sticky black material from the cauldron by Long Sin.
As the high priest of Satan worked, the devil wor-
shippers kowtowed obediently.
Suddenly the aged Chinaman with the prayer wheel
stopped his incessant, impious turning, and rising, held
up his hand as if to command attention.
Amid a general exclamation of wonder, he walked
to the dais and mounted it turning and facing the wor-
*' This is nonsense," he cried in a loud tone. " Why
THE DEVIL WORSHIPPERS 277
should our great Ksing Chau desire a white devil ? I,
a great grandfather, demand to know."
The effect on the worshippers was electric. They
paused in their obeisance and stared at the speaker,
then at their high priest.
Shaking with rage, Long Sin ordered the intruder
off the dais. But the aged devotee refused to go.
** Throw him out," he ordered his attendants.
For answer, as the two young Chinamen approached,
the old Chinaman threw them down to the floor with
a quick jiu-jitsu movement. His strength seemed
miraculous for so aged a man.
Furious now beyond expression. Long Sin stepped
forward himself. He seized the beard and queue of
the intruder. To his utter amazement, they came off !
It was Kennedy !
With his automatic drawn, before the astounded
devil dancers could recover themselves, Craig stood at
Long Sin leaped behind the big gong. As the
Chinamen rushed forward to seize him, Kennedy shot
the leader of Long Sin's attendants and struck down
the other with a blow. The rush was checked for the
moment. But the odds were fearful.
Kennedy seized Elaine's yielding body and, pushing
back the curtains to the anteroom, succeeded in gain-
ing it, and locking the door into the main temple.
Bennett was still lying on the floor tightly bound.
With a few deft cuts by a Chinese knife which he had
picked up, Kennedy released him.
At the same time, Chinamen were trying to batter
down the door, Kennedy's last bulwark. It was sway-
ing under their repeated blows.
278 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
Kennedy rushed to the door and fired through it at
random to check the attack for a few moments.
While Kennedy was thus besieged by the devil wor-
shippers in the anteroom, several policemen and de-
tectives gathered in the seance room with us, next
door, where Savetsky was held a defiant and mute pris-
I had discovered the bell, and, taking that as a
guide, I started to trace the course of a wire which
ran alongside the wall, feeling certain that it would
give me a clue to some adjoining room to which
Elaine might possibly have been taken.
To the fireplace I traced the bell, and, in pulling on
the wire, I luckily pressed a secret spring. To my
amazement, the whole fireplace swung out of sight and
disclosed a secret passageway.
I looked through it.
It was almost at that precise instant that the door
of the anteroom burst open and the Chinamen swarmed
in, urged on by the insane exhortations of Long Sin.
To my utter amazement, I recognized Kennedy's
In the first onslaught, Craig shot one Chinaman
dead, then closed with the others, slashing right and
left with the Chinese knife he had picked up.
Bennett came to his aid, but was immediately over-
come by two Chinamen, who evidently had been de-
tailed for that purpose.
Meanwhile, Kennedy and the others were engaged in
a terrible life and death struggle. They fought all
over the room, dismantling it, and even tearing the
hangings from the wall.
THE DEVIL WORSHIPPERS 279
It was just as the Chinese was about to overpower
him that I led the poUce and detectives through the
passageway of the fireplace.
It was a glorious fight that followed. Long Sin and
his Chinamen were no match for the police and were
soon completely routed, the police striking furiously
in all directions and clearing the room.
Instantly, Kennedy thought of the fair object of all
this melee. He rushed to the divan on which he had
She was slowly returning to consciousness.
As she opened her eyes, for an instant, she gazed
at Craig, then at Bennett. Still not comprehending
just what had hapepned, she gave her hand to Bennett.
Bennett lifted her to her feet and slowly assisted her
as she tried to walk away.
Kennedy watched them, more stupefied than if he
had been struck over the head by Long Sin.
Police and detectives were now taking the captured
Chinamen away, as Bennett, his arm about Elaine, led
her gently out.
A young detective had slipped the bracelets over
Long Sin's wrist, and I was standing beside him.
Kennedy, in a daze at the sight of Elaine and
Bennett, passed us, scarcely noticing who we were.
As Craig collected his scattered forces, Long Sin
motioned to him, as if he had a message to deliver.
Kennedy frowned suspiciously. He was about to
turn away, when the Chinaman began pleading ear-
nestly for a chance to say a few words.
" Step aside for a moment, you fellows, won't you
28o THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
please," Craig asked. " I will hear what you have to
say, Long Sin."
Long Sin looked about craftily.
" What is it ? " prompted Craig, seeing that at last
they were all alone.
Long Sin again looked around.
" Swear that I will go free and not suffer," Long
Sin whispered, " and I will betray the great Clutching
Kennedy studied the Chinaman keenly for a mo-
ment. Then, seemingly satisfied with the scrutiny,
he nodded slowly assent.
As Craig did so, I saw Long Sin lean ovej: and
whisper into Kennedy's ear.
Craig started back in horror and surprise.
Pacing up and down his den in the heart of China-
town, Long Sin was thinking over his bargain with
Kennedy to betray the infamous Clutching Hand.
It was a small room in a small and unpretentious
house, but it adequately expressed the character of the
subtle Oriental. The den was lavishly furnished, while
the guileful Long Sin himself wore a richly figured
lounging gown of the finest and costliest silk, chosen
for the express purpose of harmonizing with the lux-
urious Far Eastern hangings and furniture so as to
impress his followers and those whom he might choose
THE RECKONING 281
At length he seated himself at a teakwood table,
still deliberating over the promise he had been forced
to make to Kennedy. He sat for some moments,
deeply absorbed in thought.
Suddenly an idea seemed to strike him. Lifting a
little hammer, he struck a Chinese gong on the table
at his side. At the same time, he leaned over and
turned a knob at the side of a large roll-top desk.
A few seconds later a sort of hatchway, covered by
a rug on the floor, in one corner of the room, was
slowly lifted and Long Sin's secretary, a sallow,
cadaverous Chinaman, appeared from below. He
stepped noiselessly into the room and shuffled across
to Long Sin.
Long Sin scowled, as though something had inter-
fered with his own plans, but tore open the envelope
without a word, spreading out on his lap the sheet
of paper it contained.
The letter bore a typewritten message, all in capi-
tals, which read :
" Be at headquarters at 12. Destroy this im-
At the bottom of the note appeared the sinister sig-
nature of the Clutching Hand.
As soon as he had finished reading the note, the
Chinaman turned to his obsequious secretary, who
stood motionless, with folded arms and head meekly
" Very well," he said with an imperious wave of his
hand. " You may go."
Bowing low again, the secretary shuffled across and
282 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
down again through the hatchway, closing the door as
Long Sin read the note once more, while his in-
scrutable face assumed an expression of malicious jcun-
ning. Then he glanced at his heavy gold watch.
With an air of deliberation, he reached for a match
and struck it. He had just placed the paper in the
flame when suddenly he seemed to change his mind.
He hastily blew out the match which had destroyed
only a corner of the paper, then folded the note care-
fully and placed it in his pocket.
A few moments later, with a malignant chuckle,
Long Sin rose slowly and left the room.
Meanwhile, the master criminal was busily engaged
in putting the finishing touches to a final scheme of
fiendish ingenuity for the absolute destruction of Craig
He had been at work in a small room, fitted up as a
sort of laboratory, in the mysterious house which now
served as his headquarters.
On all sides were shelves filled with bottles of deadly
liquids and scientific apparatus for crime. Jars of
picric acid, nitric acid, carboys of other chemicals,
packages labelled gunpowder, gun cotton and nitro-
glycerine, as well as carefully stoppered bottles of
prussic acid, and the cyanides, arsenic and other poi-
sons made the place bear the look of a veritable devil's
Clutching Hand, at a bench in one corner, had just
completed an infernal machine of diabolical cunning,
and was wrapping it carefully in paper to make an in-
THE RECKONING 283
He was interrupted by a knock at the door. Laying
down the bomb he went to answer the summons wuth
a stealthy movement. There stood Long Sin, who had
disguised himself as a Chinese laundryman.
"On time — good!" growled Clutching Hand surl-
ily as he closed the door with equal care.
No time was wasted in useless formalities.
** This is a bomb/' he went on, pointing to the pack-
age. " Carry it carefully. On no account let it slip,
or you are a dead man. It must be in Kennedy's
laboratory before night. Understand? Can you ar-
range it ? "
Long Sin looked the dangerous package over, then
with an impassive look, replied, '' Have no fear. I
can do it. It will be in the laboratory within an hour.
Long Sin nodded sagely, while Clutching Hand
growled his approval as he opened the door and let out
the Chinaman. Long Sin departed as stealthily as he
had come, the frightful engine of destruction hugged
up carefully under his w^ide-sleeved coolie shirt.
For a moment Clutching Hand gave himself up to
the exquisite contemplation of what he had just done,
then turned to clean up his workshop.
In Kennedy's laboratory I was watching Craig make
some experiments with a new X-ray apparatus which
had just arrived, occasionally looking through the
fluoroscope when he was examining some unusually
We were oblivious to the passage of time, and only
a call over our speaking tube diverted our attention.
284 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
I opened the door and a few seconds later Long Sin
Kennedy looked up inquiringly as the Chinaman ap-
proached, holding out a package which he carried.
" A bomb/' he said, in the most matter of fact way.
" I promised to have it placed in your laboratory be-
The placid air with which the grotesque looking
Chinaman imparted this astounding information was
in itself preposterous. His actions and words as he
laid the package down gingerly on the laboratory table
indicated that he was telling the truth.
Kennedy and I stared at each other in blank amaze-
ment for a moment. Then the humor of the thing
struck us both and we laughed outright.
Clutching Hand had told him to deliver it — and he
had done so !
Hastily I filled a pail with water and brought it to
" If it is really a bomb/' I remarked, '' why not put
the thing out of commission?"
" No, no, Walter," he cried quickly, shaking his
head. '' If it's a chemical bomb, the water might be
just the thing to make the chemicals run together and
set it off. No, let us see what the new X-ray machine
can tell us, first."
He took the bomb and carefully placed it under the
wonderful rays, then with the fluoroscope over his
eyes studied the shadow cast by the rays on its sensi-
tive screen. For several minutes he continued safely
studying it from every angle, until he thoroughly un-
" It's a bomb, sure enough," Craig exclaimed, look-
THE RECKONING 285
ing up from it at last to me. '' It's timed by an in-
genious and noiseless little piece of clockwork, in
there, too. And it's powerful enough to blow us all,
the laboratory included, to kingdom come.''
As he spoke, and before I could remonstrate with
him, he took the infernal machine and placed it on a
table w^here he set to work on the most delicate and
dangerous piece of dissection of which I have ever
Carefully unwrapping the bomb and unscrewing one
part while he held another firm, he finally took out of
it a bottle of liquid and some powder. Then he placed
a few grains of the powder on a dish and dropped on
It a drop or two of the liquid. There w^as a bright
flash, as the powder ignited instantly.
" Just what I expected," commented Kennedy with
a nod, as he examined the clever workmanship of the
One thing that interested him was that part of the
contents had been wrapped in paper to keep them in
place. This paper he was now carefully examining
with a hand lens.
As nearly as I could make it out, the paper con-
tained part of a typewritten chemical formula, which
TINCTURE OF IODINE
THREE PARTS OF —
He looked up from his study of the microscope to
'' Tell me just how it happened that you got this
bomb," he asked.
286 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
Without hesitation, the Chinaman recited the cir-
cumstances, beginning with the note by which he had
"A note?" repeated Kennedy, eagerly. ''Was it
typewritten ? "
Long Sin reached into his pocket and produced the
note itself, which he had not burned.
As Craig studied the typewritten message from the
Clutching Hand I could see that he was growing more
and more excited.
*' At last he has given us something typewritten," he
exclaimed. '' To most people^ I suppose, it seems that
typewriting is the best way to conceal identity. But
there are a thousand and one ways of identifying type-
writing. Clutching Hand knew that. That was why
he was so careful to order this note destroyed. As for
the bomb, he figured that it would destroy itself."
He was placing one piece of typewriting after an-
V other under the lens, scrutinizing each letter closely.
" Look, Walter," he remarked at length, taking a
fine tipped pencil and pointing at the distinguishing
marks as he talked. '' You will notice that all the
' T's ' in this note are battered and faint as well as
just a trifle out of alignment. Now I will place the
paper from the bomb under the lens and you will also
see that the * T's ' in the scrap of formula have ex-
actly the same appearance. That indicated, without
the possibility of a doubt, taken in connection with a
score of other peculiarities in the letters which I could
pick out that both were written on the same typewriter.
I have selected the ' T ' because it is the most marked."
I strained my eyes to look. Sure enough, Kennedy
THE RECKONING 287
was right. There was that unmistakable identity be-
tween the T's in the formula and the note.
Kennedy had been gazing at the floor, his face puck-
ered in thought as I looked. Suddenly he slapped his
hands together, as if he had made a great discovery.
"I've struck it!'' he exclaimed, jumping up. ''I
was wondering where I had seen typewriting that re-
minds me of this. Walter, get on your coat and hat.
We are on the right trail at last."
With Long Sin we hurried out of the laboratory,
leaving him at the nearest taxicab stand, -where we
jumped into a waiting car.
'' It is the clue of the battered ' T's,' " Craig mut-
Aunt Josephine was in the library knitting when the
butler, Jennings, announced us. We were admitted at
once, for Aunt Josephine had never quite understood
what was the trouble between Elaine and Craig, and
had a high regard for him.
'* Where is — ^liss Dodge ? " inquired Kennedy,
with suppressed excitement as we entered.
'' I think she's out shopping and I don't know just
when she will be back," answered Aunt Josephine,
with some surprise. " Why ? Is it anything impor-
tant — any news ? "
*' Very important," returned Kennedy excitedly.
" I think I have the best clue yet. Only — it will be
necessary to look through some of the household cor-
respondence immediately to see whether there are cer-
tain letters. I wouldn't be surprised if she had some
— perhaps not very personal — but I must see them."
Aunt Josephine seemed nonplussed at first. I
288 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
thought she was going to refuse to allow Craig to pro-
ceed. But finally she assented.
Kennedy lost no time. He went to a desk where
Elaine generally sat, and quickly took out several type-
written letters. He examined them closely, rejecting
one after another, until finally he came to one that
seemed to interest him.
He separated it from the rest and fell to studying it,
comparing it with the paper from the bomb and the
note which Long Sin had received from the Clutching
Hand. Then he folded the letter so that both the
signature and the address could not be read by us.
A portion of the letter, I recall, read something like
" This is his contention : whereas truth is the only
goal and matter is non-existent- —
" Look at this, Walter," remarked Craig, with diffi-
culty restraining himself ^ " What do you make of it? "
A glance at the typewriting was sufficient to show
me that Kennedy had indeed made an important dis-
covery. The writing of the letter which he had just
found in Elaine's desk corresponded in every respect
with that in the Clutching Hand note and that on the
bomb formula. In each instance there were the same
faintness, the same crooked alignment, the same bat-
tered appearance of all the letter T's.
We stared at each other almost too dazed to speak.
At that moment we were startled by the sudden ap-
pearance of Elaine herself, who had come in unex-
pectedly from her shopping expedition.
THE RECKONING 289
She entered the room carrying in her arms a huge
bunch of roses which she had evidently just received.
Her face was half buried in the fragrant blossoms, but
was fairer than even they in their selected elegance.
The moment she saw Craig, however, she stopped
short with a look of great surprise. Kennedy, on his
part, who was seated at the desk still tracing out the
similarities of the letters, stood up, half hesitating
what to say. He bowed and she returned his saluta-
tion with a very cool nod.
Her keen eye had not missed the fact that several
of her letters lay scattered over the top of the desk.
'' What are you doing with my letters, ]\Ir. Ken-
nedy ? '' she asked, in an astonished tone, evidently
resenting the unceremoniousness with which he had ap-
parently been overhauling her correspondence.
As guardedly as possible, Kennedy met her inquiry,
which I could not myself blame her for making.
'' I beg pardon^ ]\Iiss Dodge,'' he said, '' but a matter
has just come up which necessitated merely a cursory
examination of some purely formal letters which might
have an important bearing on the discovery of the
Clutching Hand. Your Aunt had no idea where you
were, nor of when you might return, and the absolute
necessity for haste in such an important matter is my
only excuse for examining a few minor letters without
first obtaining your permission."
She said nothing. At another time, such an ex-
planation would have been instantly accepted. Now,
however, it was different.
Kennedy read the look on her face, and an instant
later turned to Aunt Josephine and myself.
" I would very much appreciate a chance to say a
290 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
few words to Miss Dodge alone/' he intimated. " I
have had no such opportunity for some time. If you
would be so kind as to leave us in the library — for a
few minutes — ''
He did not finish the sentence. Aunt Josephine
had already begun to withdraw and I followed.
For a moment or two, Craig and Elaine looked at
each other, neither saying a word, each wondering just
what was in the other's mind. Kennedy was won-
dering if there was any X-ray that might read a
woman's heart, as he was accustomed to read others
of nature's secrets.
He cleared his throat, the obvious manner of cov-
ering up his emotion.
" Elaine," he said at length, dropping the recent
return to *' Miss Dodge," for the moment, '' Elaine, is
there any truth in this morning's newspaper report of
— of you?"
She had dropped her eyes. But he persisted, taking
a newspaper clipping from his pocket and handing it
Her hand trembled as she glanced over the item :
Dame Rumor is connecting the name of Miss Elaine
Dodge, the heiress, with that of Perry Bennett, the
famous young lawyer. The announcement of an en-
gagement between them at any time would not sur-
Elaine read no further. She handed back the clip-
ping to Kennedy. As her eyes met his, she noticed
THE RECKOXIXG 291
his expression of deep jconcern, and hesitated with the
reply she had evidently been just about to make.
Still, as she lowered her head, it seemed to give
silent confirmation to the truth of the newspaper re-
Kennedy said nothing. But his eyes continued to
study her face, even when it was averted.
He suppressed his feelings with a great effort, then,
without a word, bowed and left the room.
'' Walter," he exclaimed as he rejoined us in the
drawing room, where I was chatting w^ith Aunt Joseph-
ine, *' we must be oft' again. The trail follows still
I rose and much to the increased mystification of
Aunt Josephine, left the house.
An hour or so later, Elaine, whose mind was now
in a whirl from what had happened, decided to call on
Two or three clerks were in the outer office when
she arrived, but the office boy, laying down a dime
novel, rose to meet her and informed her that ]\Ir.
Bennett was alone.
As Elaine entered his private office, Bennett rose to
greet her eft'usively and they exchanged a few words.
'' I mustn't forget to thank you for those lovely
roses you sent me,'' she exclaimed at length. ^^ They
were beautiful and I appreciated them ever so much.''
Bennett acknowledged her thanks with a smile, she
sat down familiarly on his desk, and they plunged into
a vein of social gossip.
A moment later, Bennett led the conversation around
until he found an opportunity to make a tactful al-
292 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
lusion to the report of their engagement in the morn-
He had leaned over and now attempted to take her
hand. She withdrew it, however. There was some-
thing about his touch which, try as she might, she
could not like. Was it mere prejudice, or was it her
keen woman's intuition?
Bennett looked at her a moment, suppressing a mo-
mentary flash of anger that had reddened his face, and
controlled himself as if by a superhuman effort.
'' I believe you really love that man Kennedy," he
exclaimed, in a tone that was almost a hiss. " But
I tell you, Elaine, he is all bluff. Why, he has been
after that Clutching Hand now for three months —
and what has he accomplished ? Nothing ! "
He paused. Through Elaine's mind there flashed
the contrast with Kennedy's even temper and deferen-
tial manner. In spite of their quarrel and the cool-
ness, she found herself resenting the remark. Still
she said nothing, though her expressive face showed
Bennett, by another effort, seemed to grip his temper
again. He paced up and down the room. Then he
changed the subject abruptly, and the conversation was
resumed with some constraint.
While Elaine and Bennett were talking, Kennedy
and I had entered the office.
Craig stopped the boy who was about to announce
us and asked for Bennett's secretary instead, much to
The boy merely indicated the door of one of the
other private offices, and we entered.
THE RECKONING 293
We found the secretary, hard at work at the type-
writer, copying a legal document. Without a word,
Kennedy at once locked the door.
The secretary rose in surprise, but Craig paid no
attention to him. Instead he calmly walked over to
the machine and began to examine it.
'' flight I ask — '' began the secretary.
'' You keep quiet," ordered Kennedy, with a nod to
me to watch the fellow. '' You are under arrest —
and the less you say, the better for you."
I shall never forget the look that crossed the sec-
retary's face. Was it the surprise of an innocent
Taking the man's place at the machine, Kennedy
removed the legal paper that was in it and put in a
new sheet. Then he tapped out, as we watched:
BE AT HEADQUARTERS AT 12. DESTROY
TINCTURE OF IODINE
THREE PARTS OF —
This is his contention : — whereas truth is the only
goal and matter is non-existent —
T T T T
'' Look, Walter," he exclaimed as he drew out the
paper from the machine.
I bent over and together we compared the T's with
those in the Clutching Hand letter, the paper from
the bomb and the letter which Craig had taken from
As Craig pointed out the resemblances with a pencil,
294 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
my amazement gradually changed into comprehension
and comprehension into conviction. The meaning of
it all began to dawn on me.
The writing was identical. There were no difJer-
While we were locked in the secretary's office, Ben-
nett and Elaine were continuing their chat on various
social topics. Suddenly^ however, with a glance at
the clock, Bennett told Elaine that he had an impor-
tant letter to dictate, and that it must go off at once.
She said that she would excuse him a few minues
and he pressed a button to call his secretary.
Of course the secretary did not appear. Bennett
left 'his office, with some annoyance, and went into the
adjoining room the door to which Kennedy had not
He hesitated a moment, then opened the door quietly.
To his astonishment, he saw Kennedy, the secretary,
and myself apparently making a close examination
of the typewriter.
Gliding rather than walking back into his own office,
he closed the door and locked it. Almost instantly,
fear and fury at the presence of his hated rival, Ken-
nedy, turned Bennett, as it were, from the Jekyll of
a polished lawyer and lover of Elaine into an insanely
jealous and revengeful Mr. Hyde. The strain was
more than his warped mind could bear.
With a look of intense horror and loathing, Elaine
watched him slowly change from the composed, calm,
intellectual Bennett she knew and respected into a re-
pulsive, mad figure of a man.
His stature even seemed to be altered. He seemed
THE RECKONING 295
to shrivel up and become deformed. His face was
And his long, sinewy hand slowly twisted and bent
until he became the personal embodiment of the Clutch-
x\s Elaine, transfixed with terror, watched Bennett's
astounding metamorphosis, he ran to the door lead-
ing to the outer office and hastily locked that, also.
Then, with his eyes gleaming with rage and his
hands working in murderous frenzy, he crouched,
nearer and nearer, towards Elaine.
She shrank back, screaming again and again in
He zi'Qs the Clutching Hand !
In spite of closed doors, we could now plainly hear
Elaine's shrieks. Craig, the secretary and myself
made a rush for the door to Bennett's private office.
Finding it locked, we began to batter it.
By this time, however, Bennett had hurled himself
upon Elaine and was slowly choking her.
Kennedy quickly found that it was impossible to
batter down the door in time by any ordinary means.
Quickly he seized the typewriter and hurled it through
the panels. Then he thrust his hand through the
opening and turned the catch.
As we flung ourselves into the room, Bennett rushed
into a closet in a corner, slamming the door behind
him. It was composed of sheet iron and effectually
prevented anyone from breaking through. Kennedy
and I tried vainly, however, to pry it open.
Whie w^e were thus endeavoring to force an en-
trance, Bennett, in a sort of closet, had put on the
296 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
coat, hat and mask which he invariably wore in the
character of the Clutching Hand. Then he cautiously
opened a secret door in the back of the closet and
slowly made an exit.
Meanwhile, the secretary had been doing his best
to revive Elaine, who was lying in a chair, hysterical
and half unconscious from the terrible shock she had
Intent on discovering Bennett's whereabouts, Ken-
nedy and I examined the wall of the office, thinking
there might possibly be some button or secret spring
which would open the closet door.
While we were doing so, the door of a large safe
in the secretary's office gradually opened and the
Clutching Hand emerged from it, stepping carefully
towards the door leading to the outer office, intent on
escaping in that direction.
At that moment, I caught sight of him, and leaping
into the secretary's office, I drew my revolver and
ordered him to throw up his hands. He obeyed.
Holding up both hands, he slowly drew near the door
to his private office.
Suddenly he dropped one hand and pressed a hid-
den spring in the wall.
Instantly a heavy iron door shot out and closed over
the wooden door. Entrance to the private office was
absolutely cut off.
With an angry snarl, the Clutching Hand leaped at
As he did so, I fired twice.
He staggered back.
THE RECKONING 297
The shots were heard by Kennedy and Elaine, as
well as the secretary, and at the same instant they dis-
covered the iron door which barred the entrance to
the secretary's office.
Rushing into the outer office, they found the clerks
excitedly attempting to open the door of the secre-
tary's office which was locked. Kennedy drew a re-
volver and shot through the lock, bursting open the
They rushed into the room.
Clutching Hand was apparently seated in a chair at
a desk, his face buried in his arms, while I was ap-
parently disappearing through the door.
Kennedy and the clerks pounced upon the figure in
the chair and tore off his mask. To their astonish-
ment, they discovered that it was myself !
My shots had missed and Clutching Hand had
leaped on me with maddened fury.
Dressed in my coat and hat, which he had deftly
removed after overpowering me and substituting his
own clothes. Clutching Hand had by this time climbed
through the window of the outer office and was mak-
ing his way down the fire escape to the street. He
reached the foot of the iron steps leaped off and ran
Shouting a few directions to the secretary, the
clerks and Elaine, Kennedy climbed through the win-
dow and darted down the fire escape in swift pursuit.
The Clutching Hand, however, managed to elude
capture again. Turning the street corner he leaped
into a taxi which happened to be standing there, and,
hastily giving the driver directions, was driven rapidly
298 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
away. By the time Kennedy reached the street
Clutching Hand had disappeared.
While these exciting events were occurring in Ben-
nett's office some queer doings were in progress in the
heart of Chinatown.
Deep underground, in one of the catacombs known
only to the innermost members of the Chinese secret
societies, was Long Sin's servant, Tong Wah, popu-
larly known as " the hider/' engaged in some mysteri-
A sinister-looking Chinaman, dressed in coolie cos-
tume, he was standing at a table in a dim and musty,
high-ceilinged chamber, faced with stone and brick.
Before him were several odd shaped Chinese vials,
and from these he was carefully measuring certain
proportions, as if concocting some powerful potion.
He stepped back and looked around suspiciously as
he suddenly heard footsteps above. The next mo-
ment Long Sin, who had entered through a trap door,
climbed down a long ladder and walked into the room.
Approaching Tong Wah^ he asked : " When will
the death-drink be ready ? "
'' It is now prepared," was the reply.
Long Sin took the bowl in which the liquor had
been mixed, and, having examined it, he gave a nod
and a grunt of satisfaction. Then he mounted the
ladder again and disappeared.
As soon as he had gone Tong Wah, picking up
several of the vials, went out through an iron door at
the end of the room.
A few minutes later the Clutching Hand drove up
to Long Sin's house in the taxicab and, after paying
THE RECKONING 299
the chauffeur, went to the door and knocked sharply.
In response to his knocking Long Sin appeared on
the threshold and motioned to Bennett to come in, evi-
dently astonished to see him.
As he entered, Bennett made a secret sign and said :
'' I am the Clutching Hand. Kennedy is close on my
trail, and I have come to be hidden."
In a tone which betrayed alarm and fear the China-
man intimated that he had no place in which Bennett
could be concealed w4th any degree of safety.
For a moment Bennett glared savagely at Long Sin.
" I possess hidden plunder worth seven million dol-
lars," he pleaded quickly, '' and if by your aid I can
make a getaw^ay, a seventh is yours."
The Chinaman's cupidity was clearly excited by
Bennett's offer, while the bare mention of the amount
at stake was sufficient to overcome all his scruples.
After exchanging a few words he finally agreed to all
the Clutching Hand said. Opening a trap door in the
floor of the room in which they were standing, he led
Bennett down a step-ladder into the subterranean
chamber in which Tong Wah had so recently been pre-
paring his mysterious potion.
As Bennett sank into a chair and passed his hands
over his brow in utter weariness. Long Sin poured into
a cup some of the liquor of death which Tong Wah
had mixed.. He handed it to Bennett, who drank it
" How do you propose to help me to escape ? ''
asked Bennett huskily.
Without a word Long Sin went to the wall, and,
grasping one of the stones, pressed it back, opening a
large receptacle, in which there were two glass coffins
300 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
apparently containing two dead Chinamen. Pulling
out the coffins, he pushed them before Bennett, who
rose to his feet and gazed upon them with wonder.
Long Sin broke the silence : '' These men," he said,
'' are not dead ; but they have been in this condition
for many months. It is what is called in your lan-
guage suspended animation."
" Is that what you intend to do with me ? " asked
Bennett, shrinking back in terror.
The Chinaman nodded in affirmation as he pushed
back the coffins.
Overcome by the horror of the idea Bennett, with
a groan, sank back into the chair, shaking his head as
if to indicate that the plan was far too terrible to
With a sinister smile and a shrug of his shoulders
Long Sin pointed to the cup from which Bennett had
" But, dear master," he remarked suavely, '^ you
have already drunk a full dose of the potion which
causes insensibility, and it is overcoming you. Even
now," he added, '' you are too weak to rise."
Bennett made frantic efforts to move from his seat,
but the potion was already taking effect, and through
sheer weakness he found he was unable to get on his
feet in spite of all his struggles.
With a malicious chuckle Long Sin moved closer
to his victim and spoke again.
" Divulge where your seven million dollars are hid-
den," he suggested craftily, '' and I will give you an
By this time Bennett, who was becoming more rigid
each moment, was unable to speak, but by a movement
THE RECKONING 301
of his head and an expression in his eyes he indicated
that he was ready to agree to the Chinaman's proposal.
'' Where have you hidden the seven milHon dol-
lars ? '^ repeated Long Sin.
Slowly, and after a desperate struggle, Bennett
managed to raise one hand and pointed to his breast
pocket. The Chinaman instantly thrust in his hand
and drew out a map.
For some moments Long Sin examined the map in-
tently, and, with a grin of satisfaction, he placed it in
his own pocket. Then he mixed what he declared was
a sure antidote, and, pouring some of the liquor into-
a cup, he held it to Bennett's lips.
As Bennett opened his mouth to drink it, Long Sin,
with a laugh slowly pulled the cup away and poured
its contents on the floor.
Bennett's body had now become still more rigid..
Every sign of intelligence had left his face, and al-
though his eyes did not close, a blank stare came over
his countenance, indicating plainly that the drug had.
destroyed all consciousness.
By this time, I was slowly recovering my senses in
the secretary's office, where Bennett had left me in
the disguise of the Clutching Hand. Elaine, the sec-
retary, and the clerks were gathered round me, doing
all they could to revive me.
Meanwhile, Kennedy had enlisted the aid of two
detectives and was scouring the city for a trace of
Bennett or the taxicab in which he had fled.
Somehow, Kennedy suspected, instinctively, that
Long Sin might give a clue to Bennett's whereabouts^
302 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE
and a few moments later, we were all on our way in a
car to Long Sin's house.
Though we did not know it, Long Sin, at the mo-
ment when Kennedy knocked at his door, was feeling
in his inside pocket to see that the map he had taken
from Bennett was perfectly safe. Finding that he
had it, he smiled with his peculiar oriental guile.
Then he opened the door, and stood for a moment,
'' Where is Bennett ? " demanded Kennedy.
Long Sin eyed us all, then with a placid smile, said,
'* Follow me. I will show you."
He opened a trap door, and we climbed down after
Craig, entering a subterranean chamber, led by Long
There was Bennett seated rigidly in the chair beside
the table from which the vials and cups, about which
we then knew nothing, had been removed.
*' How did it happen ? " asked Kennedy.
'* He came here," replied Long Sin, with a wave of
his hand, '' and before I could stop him he did away
In dumb show, the Chinaman indicated that Ben-
nett had taken poison.
" Well, we've got him," mused Kennedy, shaking
his head sadly, adding, after a pause, ''but he is
Elaine, who had followed us down, covered her
eyes with her hands, and was sobbing convulsively.
I thought she would faint, but Kennedy led her gently
away into an upper room.
As he placed her in an easy chair, he bent over her,
THE RECKONING 303
'' Did you — did you — really — love him ? " he
asked in a low tone, nodding in the direction from
which he had led her.
Still shuddering, and with an eager look at Ken-
nedy, Elaine shook her beautiful head.
Then, slowly rising to her feet, she looked at Craig
appealingly. For a moment he looked down into her
two great lakes of eyes.
" Forgive me," murmured Elaine, holding out her
hand. Then she added in a voice tense with emotion,
" Thank you for saving me.''
Kennedy took her hand. For a moment he held it.
Then he drew her towards him, unresisting.